The Iranian Human Rights Defenders Center has issued a statement announcing that its 2014 award presented to Molavi Abdol Hamid, the Sunni Muslim leader for Friday prayers in Zahedan, will be withdrawn because for his support of the Taliban. 

The statement, dated August 24, said the group rejected Abdol Hamid's recent stance on the "Taliban terrorist group" and described it as contrary to human rights standards and the attainment of world peace. 

Abdol Hamid, in a message dated August 17, called the Taliban's military domination of Afghanistan a great victory against the "invading occupiers and the incompetent, inefficient and corrupt government", and congratulated the "Islamic Emirate" and the people of Afghanistan. 

The influential Sunni cleric has previously called the Taliban a “reality" in Afghanistan, saying its “jihadist” struggle had led to the departure of the "occupiers". He described the Taliban's rapid takeover of large parts of Afghanistan as a sign of "God's help and popular support". 

The Defenders of Human Rights Center statement added: "In 2014, the Human Rights Defenders Award, which is presented annually by the Defenders of Human Rights Center to prominent Iranian activists for their efforts to save the lives of hostage soldiers and to insist on attaining rights of all tribes and ethnicities, was awarded to Mr. Molavi Abdol Hamid." But the cleric’s "right-wing positions" have changed in recent years, the statement said, and Abdol Hamid has "made statements from his official platforms that clearly contradict the goals of the award." 

"The recent positions of Molavi Abdol Hamid, especially on the Taliban terrorist group, are not acceptable to the Defenders of Human Rights Center and the Human Rights Award will be revoked," the group said.

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