Iran state TV fires managers over 'insult' to Sunnis

Iran has a system of Islamic government based on Shiite jurisprudence, but also has a Sunni minority (AFP Photo/ATTA KENARE)

Tehran (AFP) - Iranian state TV has fired two channel managers over a live programme deemed insulting to Sunni Muslims, it said in a statement Sunday.

The sackings at Channel 5 came after a broadcast on May 20 celebrating the birthday of the second imam in Shiite Islam, Hassan ibn Ali.

During the programme, religious chanter and story-teller Ahmad Qadami recited a eulogy that "insulted the sanctities of Sunni Muslims", according to official news agency IRNA.

"Following the negligence of airing an irreverent chanter's speech on Channel 5, the channel's head and broadcast manager were fired," state TV's website quoted head manager Abdolali Aliaskari as saying.

The channel's senior producer, programme manager and video supervisor were also fired, TV deputy head Morteza Mirbagheri told semi-official news agency ISNA.

According to IRNA, the chanter was summoned by Iran's culture and media court on Sunday and further investigations into his case are pending.

Iran is a Shiite powerhouse, but under the country's constitution, Sunnis -- who account for around 10 percent of the population -- are "free to perform their religious rites according to their religious jurisprudence".