Iran’s Sunni leader endorses Rouhani for re-election

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. (President.ir/Handout/File Photo via Reuters)
Updated 13 May 2017
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Iran’s Sunni leader endorses Rouhani for re-election

TEHRAN: A leading figure of Iran’s minority Sunnis endorsed moderate President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday ahead of this week’s election, despite the government’s “shortcomings.”
Sunnis make up around five to 10 percent of Iran’s 80 million population, which is overwhelmingly Shiite.
Religious leader Molavi Abdol Hamid said “the atmosphere for Sunnis has been a little more relaxed” since Rouhani took power in 2013, and that most would support him in Friday’s election.
Abdol Hamid repeated calls for greater Sunni representation in local and national government, and more action on discrimination.
“The Sunni community believes that this government, despite its problems and weaknesses, has had more strong points, and we hope if the current government takes office again, it will do more to resolve those problems and shortcomings,” he said in comments carried by his website.
He was speaking in Sistan Baluchistan province, a Sunni-majority region in southeastern Iran bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rouhani is leading in official polls, but faces a tough fight for re-election against conservative rivals who accuse him of failing to boost the struggling economy.


US-backed Syria offensive kills 35 Daesh fighters: monitor

Updated 20 October 2018
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US-backed Syria offensive kills 35 Daesh fighters: monitor

BEIRUT: An offensive by US-backed forces against Daesh’s last redoubt in eastern Syria killed 35 militants on Saturday, a Britain-based war monitor said.
Twenty-eight Daesh members were killed in air strikes by the US-led coalition around the town of Hajjin, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Another seven militants were killed in ground fighting with the Syrian Democratic Forces, who launched a coalition-backed offensive against the Daesh-held pocket in the Euphrates Valley last month.
Fighting has killed 414 militants and 227 SDF fighters in total since the assault began on September 10, the Observatory said.
Coalition air strikes on Daesh targets in another part of the pocket on Thursday and Friday killed at least 41 civilians, 10 of them children, the monitor said.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” across the land it controlled.
But the militant group has since lost most of its territory to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, its presence has been reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the Hajjin pocket in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor near the Iraqi border.
Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.