UPDATE 1615 GMT: Iranian officials are claiming five dead and several wounded amid clashes between regime security forces and Gonabadi Dervishes.

In addition to three policeman said to have been killed by a bus ramming on Monday night, one paramilitary Basij volunteer was reportedly rammed by a car and another stabbed.

Officials said up to 300 people have been arrested.

Police spokesman Gen. Saeed Montazer al-Mahdi had restored “calm and order”, but videos circulating on Tuesday showed police in running battles with demonstrators on residential streets in northern Tehran.

Iran’s security forces clashed with members of the Gonabadi Dervishes religious group in Tehran on Monday, amid a protest over the arrest of one of the Sufi followers and claims of a recent attempt to detain the leader of the denomination.

Three policemen were reportedly killed when they were hit with a vehicle. Regime officials claimed the bus was driven by one of the Dervishes.

The Dervishes had gathered in front of Police Precinct 102 after the detention of Nematollah Riahi , 72, in the building.

Riahi, from the city of Shahr-e Kord in central Iran, came to Tehran to defend the house of the leader of the Gonabadi order, 90-year-old Nour Ali Tabandeh, against a possible raid by the police and plainclothes vigilantes.

Kasra Nouri, one of the Dervishes, claimed:

Some 100 policemen attacked the dervishes and shot at them. We are worried about our security in the area, while we are defending our leader, Dr. Nour Ali Tabandeh. Our resolve is to defend him up to the last drop of our blood.

The police and Dervishes clashed both in late December and early January outside the house.

Police spokesman Saeed Montazerolmahdi said yesterday, “Three policemen are dead, and those who murdered them are under arrest.”

The Iranian Labor News Agency reported that seven other policemen were injured and hospitalized.

Nouri denied the involvement of the Dervishes: “The bus was parked there, and then started to move, and the dervishes had nothing to do with the accident.”

Dating from the 14th century, the Gonabadi Dervishes is Iran’s largest Sufi order. There have been periodic reports of harassment and detention of members by Iranian authorities.


Footage of the bus ramming: