The representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader in the central city of Esfahan, Yousef Tabatabaei-Nejad, was attacked Friday by a young man carrying a knife.
The hardliner cleric, who is the Friday prayer Imam of the city, said on Friday that a troubled young man in his 20s ambushed him from behind after the prayers, adding that he was hit on the neck, but it was nothing serious and he was not hurt.
Tabatabai-Nejad said the assailant, whose identity was not announced, was arrested immediately and his motives are being investigated. Iranian media say that the cleric suffered minor injuries.
People on social media said the man attacked the cleric with a metal object.
In 2020, Tabatabai-Nejad said society must become unsafe for women with loose-fitting hijabs. Similar calls for crackdown on those who fail to comply with compulsory hijab sparked a series of acid attacks on women in Esfahan in 2014.
Earlier in the year, a member of the Assembly of the Qom Seminary Scholars and Researchers, Mohammad Taghi Fazel Meybodi, said that clerics and seminary students are avoiding their usual garb for fear of being insulted in public, adding that the people in Iran have a negative view of the clergy, and blame them for the current hardships they experience, including high prices and corruption.
Another well-known cleric, Mohammad-Reza Zaeri, also talked about the growing hatred and grudge towards the clergy in January, warning of a crisis unfolding in society.