A member of Iran‘s influential clerical body was assassinated in the country’s northern province of Mazandaran on Wednesday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, adding that the suspected killer had been detained.

Abbasali Soleimani, also a former representative of Iran‘s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the predominantly Sunni province of Sistan-Baluchistan, died in hospital after being shot at in a bank in the city of Babolsar, Fars said.

The Assembly of Experts is a powerful clerical body that supervises, appoints and in theory can sack the supreme leader.

The southern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan and one of Iran‘s poorest, faced months of intensive anti-government protests sparked by the death in custody of a young Iranian woman in September.

(Reporting by Elwely Elwelly; editing by John Stonestreet and Nick Macfie)