Middle East

Iran sentences New Age-style Shia Islam founder to death

An attorney for the founder of a mystical, New Age version of Shia Islam says an Iranian court has sentenced his client to death.

Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei tells The Associated Press that the court sentenced Mohammad Ali Taheri to death on charges of founding a cult.

The lawyer says he will appeal within 20 days.

In 2014 the 61-year-old Taheri was sentenced to death on similar charges but an appeals court later rejected the verdict. He has been in jail since 2011, when a court sentenced him to five years in prison for blasphemy.

In recent weeks, authorities reportedly detained dozens of his followers.

Taheri also has done research on alternative medicine. Iran’s leaders see New Age beliefs as a threat to the principles of Islam.

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