Iran’s most senior Sunni cleric has slammed the new wave of executions of Baluch minorities, with more than 110 people executed during the past four months.
During his Friday prayer sermon, MowlaviAbdolhamid spoke of the growing number executions of the oppressed community, based on allegations of drug charges.The outspoken cleric blamed the regime for sham trials, claiming the charges are simply a pretext to avenge widespread protests in the Sistan-Baluchestan province, home to the majority of the Baluch population.
While Abdolhamid acknowledged the negative impacts of drugs, he said those affected are often forced into using or selling drugs due to the dire economic situation in the poverty-stricken province, Iran's poorest.
"In Sistan and Baluchistan, there is no water for agriculture, the weather is hot and there are no jobs," he said. Slamming the government's lack of support for the province, which has a population of around 4 million, including 700,000 Afghan nationals, he said: "Has the government created factories and workshops for the people? Have you used the capacities of mines and beaches? In which sector did you create a job that you are now executing people?... If you created jobs for people, many people would not go for it,” he said.
Abdolhamid pointed out that a large number of those executed on drug-related charges are for sales amounting to as little as $15 to $20.
Given the region's high rate of unemployment and lack of proper infrastructure, smuggling fuel, goods and in some cases, drugs are their only lifeline.