Shahr-e-kord – Town in turmoil - Strong police forces have been besieging the area around the meeting house of the dervishes in Shahr-e-kord for the past two days. About 2,000 dervishes are ready to defend the house and keep watch.

In Shahr-e-kord, everything in the situation looks as confrontation. Two days ago, plainclothes agents tried to destroy the tent of the local Gonabadi Dervish Order on the premises of its chairman. But the agents were disturbed in their action and expelled by rushing dervishes who came to the rescue. The police surrounded the area with fully equipped teams. Other units were brought to Shahr-e-kord. The siege has been going on for two days now. Two ultimatums of the authorities to leave the grounds passed without changing anything. According to inhabitants from Shahr-e-kord about 2,000 dervishes are standing guard, chant powerful songs[1] and don’t accept any promise of the authorities. Previous actions of the regime forces are sufficiently known. In Qom, on the island of Kish, in Boroujerd, Karaj and other places, the authorities destroyed the dervish gathering and prayer houses in previous years.

The regime has intensified its campaign against the Dervishes since  Ali Khamenei defined the internal enemies of the revolution  in his speech in Qom in 2009. Among other groups, he stigmatized the dervishes as deviants and enemies.
And with good reason. The dervishes are not submissive to Khamenei and his ideology of the rule of the supreme religious leader.

The pattern of the procedure is always the same. Local authorities institute a ban to conduct ceremonies, invent building code restrictions and issue orders for demolition. As long as the dervishes can, they will  resist to these destruction attempts. Only the blatant and brute power of the regime forces them again and again on their knees.

On the evening of 17.01.2013, the mayor of Shahr-e-kord has on TV issued another ultimatum that the house and the surrounding area must be cleared by Friday evening. The dervishes fear that Basiji will be instigated against the dervishes during the Friday gatherings and will result in violent clashes.

European countries can help. A clear public statement to hold the authorities responsible will make the authorities reluctant to act violently. After all, Ali Khamenei is in general concerned about his reputation, because he considers the Islamic Republic of Iran as a paradise with the most free elections in the world.