An Iranian governor-general suffered a blow to the face and bruises Tuesday during a visit to the city of Kerman, officials said, in what appears to be the latest flare-up in political tension between hardliners and moderates in the Islamic Republic.
The official IRNA news agency, quoting the Kerman governor’s spokesman, said Ali Atefeh was in his office in a recreational center that is to be turned into a cancer center when he was hit by a “sharp object” during a television appearance.
Atefeh was reported to have been taken to a hospital for further treatment but officials said he suffered no more injuries.
In a brief statement, the official IRNA news agency reported that Atefeh was hit with a “sharp object” during a television appearance in Kerman city Tuesday, resulting in minor injuries to his face and minor bruises.
The agency did not say whether he was lightly wounded or if it was a more serious attack.
Hard-liners are prominent in Iranian society and own a large number of media outlets. In recent years they have championed the idea of making the presidency into an elected position rather than an appointed post, joining forces with a handful of liberal-leaning newspapers who campaigned for the same idea.
In recent months, many prominent political figures and officials in Iran have been attacked or caught up in public spat with hard-liners.
They include Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate elected in 2013 and who suffered a major setback in elections earlier this year. His allies were defeated in a parliamentary race held in March.
Another prominent politician who fell victim to a vicious clash between hard-liners and moderates was a former Iranian first lady, Mohammadreza Aref, who was recently attacked at her car.
The country also continues to be under a European Union oil embargo that was implemented in 2012 in response to Iran’s disputed nuclear program. This policy was maintained by U.S. President Donald Trump after he pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018.
The French newspaper, Le Monde, said a woman in court appeared to have thrown eggs at Aref’s car and an attacker also tried to slam the car’s doors.
The newspaper reported that Aref, who was forced to use a wheelchair because of an earlier attack, suffered minor injuries but left the hospital without a wheelchair.
There was no immediate explanation for the latest attack.
Iran has been trying to confront the economic impact of the U.S. sanctions since Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and in response has been trying to boost its role as a global oil player again.
Iranian officials said it has exported 843,000 barrels of oil per day during the first quarter of 2019, up 34 percent from the same period a year ago.
Since it cut back on oil exports to the U.S. after the nuclear deal was forged in 2015, Washington has imposed wide-ranging unilateral sanctions that hit Iran’s key oil-producing regions and most transactions in the country’s currency.
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