Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi

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Molavi Abdul Hamid in Iranian Presidential center.jpg
Ismaeelzahi on 10 December 2016
Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi

c. 1946/1947 (age 71–73)[1]

Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi (Persian: عبدالحمید اسماعیل‌زهی‎) is an Iranian Sunni cleric who is regarded as a "spiritual leader for Iran’s Sunni population", according to Reuters.[3] Ismaeelzahi enjoys support of the overwhelming majority of Baloch people in Iran, who hail him as their Molavi.[2]

He is the imam of the Makki Mosque in Zahedan[4] and the director of the Jamiah Darul Uloom Zahedan, the main seminary in the city.[5]


Ismaeelzahi is a vocal critic of the status of freedom of religion in Iran and an advocate of nonviolence[citation needed]. He has stated that capital punishment is "not suitable" and should be "used only when there are no other alternatives".[6]

On 2 August 2017, he sent a letter to Ali Khamenei addressing concerns over the “issue of religious discrimination in Iran”, which was publicly replied to.[7]

Travel restrictions[edit]

Ismaeelzahi is under alleged travel restrictions imposed by the establishment. In July 2014, he was barred from leaving the country.[1] In 2017, it was reported that the restriction was intensified, barring him from any travel except to Tehran.[8] However, in December 2018, he was allowed to visit Muscat, Oman to meet the Iranian Baluch minority living there.[9]



  1. ^ a b Philipp Breu, translated by John Bergeron, "Sunnis in Iran: The Zahedan network", Qantara, retrieved 15 November 2017
  2. ^ a b Ahmad Reza Taheri (2013), "The Sociopolitical Culture of Iranian Baloch Elites", Middle Eastern Studies, 46 (6): 973–994, doi:10.1080/00210862.2013.810079 – via Taylor and Francis Online (subscription required)
  3. ^ Bozorgmehr Sharafedin (6 August 2016), Sami Aboudi and Robin Pomeroy, ed., "Iranian Sunni cleric says executions may inflame regional tensions", Reuters, retrieved 15 November 2017
  4. ^ Adelkhah, Fariba (2015). The Thousand and One Borders of Iran: Travel and Identity. Iranian Studies. 27. Routledge. p. 116. ISBN 1317418972.
  5. ^ Brigitte Maréchal, Sami Zemni, eds. (2013). The Dynamics of Sunni-Shia Relationships: Doctrine, Transnationalism, Intellectuals and the Media. Iranian Studies. 27. Hurst Publishers. p. 175. ISBN 9781849042178.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  6. ^ Behdad Bordbar (13 April 2014), "Iranian Sunni cleric says government asked for help to free soldiers", Al-Monitor, retrieved 15 November 2017
  7. ^ "Iranian Sunni leader voices concerns to Khamenei", Al-Monitor, 7 September 2017, retrieved 15 November 2017
  8. ^ "Iran's Sunni Leader Says Discrimination Is A Big 'Problem'", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12 November 2017, retrieved 15 November 2017
  9. ^ https://twitter.com/khaaasteh/status/1076798731893334016?s=21
  10. ^ "This week in human rights in Iran (December 18-January 8)", Majzooban, 2013, retrieved 15 November 2017

External links[edit]