Mawlana Abdol-Hamid, the famous Sunni scholar in Iran, has declared that most Sunnis are inclined to vote for the current president, Hassan Rouhani, in the upcoming May 19 election, despite their complaints about his government.
Khateeb and Friday leader of the southeastern city of Zahedan and a spiritual leader of the Sunni community in Iran was talking with Dr. Mahmoud Sadeqi, the reformist member of the Islamic Council Assembly (parliament).
He also expressed hope that if Rouhani is elected, more serious attempts will be made to resolve existing difficulties.
SunniOnline, the official website of the Sunni community has quoted Shaikh Abdol-Hamid as saying that after consultations, Sunni community leaders have concluded that compared with the former government of Mahmud Ahmadinejad the overall atmosphere has been more open and freer during the current government. As a result, he said, the majority of Sunnis feel inclined to vote for Rouhani.
The rector of Darululoom Zahedan repeated his recent complaints that Sunnis are not appointed in high-level governmental positions and a “lack of support from reformists when the Sunni community faces problems, despite the fact that Sunnis have supported [Rouhani’s] government.”
Four years ago, regions with substantial Sunni populations, such as Kurdish and Turkmen areas and Sistan-Baluchistan Province, gave the highest vote to Rouhani.
In Iran, Sunnis have been denied certain civic rights, including appointment to high-level government positions, although two years ago, a Sunni was appointed for the first time as ambassador to Vietnam and Cambodia. The Rouhani government has also appointed another Sunni, Emad Hosseini, as deputy oil minister.
Sunni elites support Rouhani
Following the statement of Mawlana Abdol-Hamid, the newly announced Strategic Council of Iranian Sunnis issued a statement on the 12th presidential election. The council, that represents Iranian Sunnis, had discussed with the candidates or their representatives on the problems of the Sunni community.
According to the statement of the Strategic Council, the Iranian Sunnis want “to give another chance to the current government for the continuation of country’s progress and passing the bottleneck”.
The Sunni bloc in the Islamic Consultative Assembly also endorsed Rouhani, calling on all sects and ethnic communities to take part in the 19 May elections.
There has been a conference of Tehran’s Sunnis in support of Rouhani, too. The message of Shaikh Abdol-Hamid, the most influential scholar of the Sunni community, was read by his representative in the conference.
The first vice president of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri said in the conference: “I met last week with Shaikh Abdol-Hamid Isma’eelzahi, Imam of the Sunnis in Iran, and some Sunni scholars,” explained Jahangiri, “and promised to defend the rights of Sunni citizens.”