Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – After a month of interrogations, six citizens arrested by security agents in the city of Izeh on September 8th have been accused of “contact with the ‘Mahdaviat’ religious group” and transferred to Izeh prison in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
HRANA has identified the arrestees as Moslem Asadzadi, Sajjad Asadzadi, Abdollah Kavoosi, Habib Mohammadi, Peyman Andaveh, and Ali Ahmadi. A source close to the matter told HRANA that all six were members of a minority religious group called “Ansar Imam Mehdi” and their homes were searched upon their arrests.
“One of the people arrested was an 18-year-old,” the source said. “After one month of scrambling to learn about their whereabouts, we were informed this week that they’ve been transferred to prison and that a bail has been set.”
The source added that the wait has been difficult for their families. “These people were arrested for their faith and for supporting a religious movement,” they said.
Ansar Imam Mehdi is considered a sect of a larger Iranian religious movement called the Yamani faith. Yamanis are devotees of their spiritual leader Ahmad al-Hasan Yamani, who claims to be in contact with the 12th Shiite Imam.
The 12th Imam, known as Mehdi or Mahdi, is an eschatological figure who Shiites believe to be alive, hidden, and biding time to return and restore Islamic utopia. In recent years, many individuals claiming to be in contact with Mehdi were met with intolerance by Iranian authorities. Such claims run counter to the ideology of the Iranian authorities and have provoked the security apparatus to appoint divisions that specialize in quelling belief groups like the Yamanis.
HRANA reported earlier this year on crackdowns on Yamani followers in Torbat-Heydarieh and Qom.