Iran arrests members of 'heretical' Shia group
Members of the group had propagated their controversial beliefs in public and on social media, according to an IRGC press release cited by semi-official Tasnim news agency.
Adherents of the sect had gathered 'unlawfully' in villages, it was reported.
Those arrested on Wednesday were in close communication with the group's central body. They had published and distributed slogans and pamphlets critical of mainstream Shia doctrine, including the coming of Imam Mahdi.
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In Iran, it is a criminal offence to express any form of doubt, ridicule or critique regarding the principles of the Ja’fari school in Twelver Shia Islam.
Among these are belief in the second coming of the final of the twelve imams, Al-Mahdi - an eschatological redeemer who will emerge with Jesus Christ in the end of times to bring peace and justice to the world.
According to a provincial IRGC leader in Ilam, members of the group were arrested following a court-issued warrant.
"It is the priority of the IRGC’s intelligence arm to deal decisively with any form of heresy spread by fringe sects and their apologists. We will not hesitate to take action on this front." said local commander Jamal Shakermi.