The leader of Iran's Sunni community, Molavi Abdulhamid, has used his latest weekly Friday sermon to criticize the government of President Ebrahim Raisi for failing to fulfill its promises to Iran's Sunni population.
In his address after Friday prayer, on September 1, Molavi said that the Raisi administration had "failed to fulfill any of its promises" made to the Sunni community during the 2021 election campaign.
One of these unfulfilled promises, according to the outspoken Sunni leader in Zahedan, was the appointment of Sunnis to positions of power, such as governor, deputy minister or ambassador.
But he emphasized that the primary demands of the Sunni community align with those of the entire Iranian population – including addressing economic challenges and improving the Islamic Republic's international relations.
Abdulhamid's criticism comes at a time when the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, has been praising the government's performance.
Recent economic reports, however, reveal an increase in several crises including inflation, a housing crisis, and shortages of essential goods.
Molavi has consistently highlighted unresolved economic issues in Iran in his speeches. This time, he drew attention to inequalities among different ethnic and religious groups in the country.
He cited the absence of Sunni representation in Iran's armed forces, contrasting it with the presence of Sunnis in the command positions of the armed forces before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Sunni religious leader of Iran also criticized the absence of Sunni ministers.
He argued that this lack of representation of Sunnis "does not imply incompetence, but rather that there is no true meritocracy in Iran."
The 76-year-old cleric pointed out other forms of discrimination against Sunnis in the Islamic Republic, such as the restriction on Sunni mosques in Tehran.
He called for the management of Sunni religious sites in Iran to be entrusted to Sunni communities, with the government playing a supervisory role rather than assuming direct control.
Molavi has been a key dissenting voice inside Iran since the eruption of nationwide protests in September 2022, using his sermons to call for fundamental economic, social and political changes in the country.