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Iranian Sufi Leader At Home After Detention

May 24, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- New details are emerging concerning the detention in Iran this week of a prominent Sufi leader.

Nurali Tabandeh (file photo, Public domain)

Nurali Tabandeh (aka Majzub Ali Shah), the leader of the Nematollah Gonabadi order, was detained on May 21 and forcibly taken from the northeastern city of Gonabad -- where the leaders of the order have lived and been buried for centuries -- to Tehran.

A representative of the order told RFE/RL today that the 80-year-old Tabandeh was released in Tehran after being detained for about 10 hours.

Authorities had earlier called on Tabandeh to leave Gonabad, but Tabandeh had refused to leave his city of birth. In October, 300 security forces surrounded Tabandeh's Gonabad residence in an effort to force him to leave the city.

Pressure on the Gonabadi order has increased over the last year.

Copyright (c) 2007 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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