The Iranian president’s adviser on ethnic and minority affairs says the treatment of dervishes in Iran in recent years has been “unfortunate” and “arbitrary” and against “the interests and laws of the Islamic Republic”.

IRNA reports that Ali Younesi commented on Friday December 26 on the mistreatment of dervishes in recent years, saying: “Those were unfortunate events and against all interests and are not repeated anymore.”

Younesi maintained that these incidents were “arbitrary acts and not the intention of the establishment”, adding that the Islamic Republic does not support such “extremist actions.”

He stressed: “The law provides rights for each Iranian citizen and no matter what religion that citizen follows, no one is allowed to trespass against those rights, and such an act would be a crime.”

Under the Ahmadinejad administration, there reportedly was a concentrated attack on dervish places of worship, and many dervishes were arrested for protesting against these actions.

A good number of them remain under arrest and have gone on several hunger strikes to protest their mistreatment in prison.

Dervishes across the country have also staged protests, demanding the release of their imprisoned brethren; however, their demonstrations have been met with violence.