Iran Calls For Nigeria Shia Leader’s Release

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Iran says it is using all diplomatic channels to pursue the
release of a prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky who was
arrested by the Nigerian army last month.
“We have used all those channels to warn them [Nigeria]
regarding this issue. So hopefully the government… would adopt wise action
given the sensitive situation,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hoseyn
Jaberi-Ansari told reporters in the capital, Tehran.
Campaign group Human Rights Watch said at least 300 IMN
members were killed and quickly buried in a mass grave during the incident. The
Nigerian military denied the claim.

Iran is currently embroiled in a diplomatic row with Saudi
Arabia over the execution of a prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Sheikh
Zakzaky, leader of the IMN, is inspired by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.
Facts about Shia in Nigeria
Shia are minority in Nigeria but their numbers are
increasing
The IMN, formed in the 1980s, is the main Shia group led by
Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky
They operate their own schools and hospitals in some
northern states
They have a history of clashes with the security forces
The IMN is backed by Shia-dominated Iran and its members
often go there to study

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