Abbas Amirifar

Abbas Amirifar

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Hojjatoleslam Abbas Amirifar is the prayer leader of Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and head of the presidential cultural committee. He was arrested in May 2011 on charges of "sorcery" after he produced a controversial film predicting the imminent return of the Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

, (the title of which—Zohur Besyar Nazdik Ast -- has been translated as "Appearance is Close!" or “The Coming Is Upon Us”). According to Radio Zamaneh
Radio Zamaneh
Radio Zamaneh is an Amsterdam-based Persian language radio. "Zamaneh" is the Persian literary term for "time".Radio Zamaneh is founding by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs but in content an independent broadcasting organization, registered as a non-profit organization in the Netherlands, with...

, he was "referred to the Special Court for the Clergy for his involvement in the production and distribution" of the film, as well as for "disturbing public minds and insulting political groups and figures." The arrest is thought to be part of a dispute between the president and other conservatives, including the supreme leader
Supreme leader
A supreme leader typically refers to a figure in the highest leadership position of an entity, group, organization, or state, who exercises strong or all-powerful authority over it. In religion, the supreme leader or supreme leaders is God or Gods...

. "At least 25" supporters of Ahmadinejad have been arrested in 2011, including Mohammed Sharif Malekzadeh
Mohammed Sharif Malekzadeh
Mohammed Sharif Malekzadeh is a deputy foreign minister of Iran and a "close ally" of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was arrested June 23, 2011. No charges were given in the report of his arrest but he has been accused of financial irregularities...

 and Kazem Kiapasha.