Iranian cleric killed in flashpoint city of Zahedan - IRNA

DUBAI, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The cleric of a Shi'ite mosque in the mostly Sunni flashpoint Iranian city of Zahedan has been shot dead, said official news agency IRNA.

"A special task force has been formed for the purpose of identifying and arresting the perpetrators," said the police commander of Sistan-Baluchistan province, Ahmad Taheri.

IRNA named the dead cleric as Sajjad Shahraki.

Zahedan was the scene of one of the deadliest days during wave of protests that has spread across the country after a woman died in police custody. Amnesty International said security forces killed at least 66 people in a crackdown there on Sept. 30.

Authorities in Zahedan sacked the police chief and the head of a police station after that incident.

The deaths in Zahedan were widely criticised, including by a top Sunni cleric who said senior officials including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were responsible "before God".

Zahedan, close to Iran's southeastern border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, is home to a Baluch minority estimated to number up to 2 million people which has faced discrimination and repression for decades, according to human rights groups.

The Sistan-Baluchistan region around Zahedan is one of the country's poorest and has been a hotbed of tension where Iranian security forces have been attacked by Baluch militants.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; editing by John Stonestreet

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