Iran has condemned and expressed concern over the attack on prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky by the Nigerian military.
As the leader of the small Shiite community in Nigeria, Zakzaky has close political and religious ties with Iran dating back to the 1979 revolution.
The IMN seeks to establish an Islamic state through an Iranian-styled revolution.
The army clashed on Saturday and early Sunday in the largely Sunni Muslim north with the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and arrested its leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky.
The violence was sparked when Shiite faithful on Saturday blocked the main road outside their prayer centre, where hundreds had gathered for a ceremony.
The military claimed Shiites attacked a convoy of the army chief, Yusuf Buratai, leaving soldiers no option but to retaliate. The IMN denied the charge.
Reacting to this on Facebook, below is what the Iran Military wrote:
“The time when they could oppress Shias and get away with it is long gone, we shall pay a visit to the puppet regime in Nigeria soon, God willing.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday telephoned his Nigerian counterpart to protest the army’s deadly crackdown on pro-Iranian Shiites in the north of the African country.
Rouhani called President Muhammadu Buhari to say that “minor disputes must not be allowed to turn into deep differences” among Muslims.
He also requested information on the fate of the leader of Nigeria’s “Shia Muslims”, a commission of inquiry into the weekend crackdown and action by Nigeria to “appease the victims and restore calm”.
Nigeria’s charge d’affaires was told by the foreign ministry in Tehran late Monday that Iran “demands the Nigerian government immediately shed light on the incidents, treat the injured and compensate for damages”, IRNA said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also called for “immediate and serious action to prevent violence” against Shiites, in a telephone call to his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama.
Dozens of people demonstrated Tuesday outside Nigeria’s embassy in Tehran to protest against “the massacre of Shiites”, while around 100 students rallied at a university campus, local media reported.