December 24, 2019
The leader of one of Iran’s largest Sufi sects, Noor Ali Tabandeh, died on Tuesday in a hospital in Tehran, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported. He was 92.
According to Ensaf News, an Iranian news website with no known political affiliations, early this afternoon Tabandeh’s body was still held by the hospital while a crowd of his followers mourned outside. Police diverted passing cars to a nearby street. Tabandeh’s body may be taken to his hometown Gonabad in eastern Iran for burial.
A picture posted on Twitter shows a crane parked in the middle of a street to block access to the hospital. Another photo posted on Twitter shows riot police in full gear on bikes in a square leading to the hospital.
“Riot police in armor who are equipped with batons, firearms and tear gas have completely taken over all the streets leading to Zartosht Street [where the hospital is located],” a user tweeted in Persian this afternoon.