TEHRAN: A powerful Iranian cleric, a member of the Assembly of Experts that selects the country’s supreme leader, has been killed in an armed attack, state media said Wednesday.

“Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani was killed this morning in an armed attack… the assailant was also arrested,” IRNA news agency reported, citing an official.

The attack took place in city of Babolsar in the northern province of Mazandaran, the agency added.

Soleimani, 75, was previously the representative of the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He had also been the imam who led the weekly Friday prayers in the cities of Kashan, in central Isfahan province, and Zahedan in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

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Under the constitution, the 88-strong Assembly of Experts is mandated with supervising, dismissing and electing the Supreme Leader.

Last April, a suspected attack in the northeastern shrine city of Mashhad led to death of two clerics and injury of another.

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