May 9, 2011:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is increasingly in conflict with the senior clerics who have veto power over anything elected officials want to do. The clerics are trying to get rid of Ahmadinejad and his zealous (against corrupt clerics) associates. So now the senior clerics are sending the police (which the clergy control) to arrest key Ahmadinejad aides and accuse them of witchcraft and sorcery. This led to street brawls between fans of Ahmadinejad and Islamic hardliners. Clubs, knives and other sharp instruments were used. There was blood in the streets.
Ahmadinejad is quite popular, because he has gone after corrupt officials, especially the clerics and their families, who feel they are immune from prosecution and can take what they want. In theory, the clerics can get rid of Ahmadinejad by simply declaring that he is not religiously suitable to run for election. That's the kind of power the clerics have. But Ahmadinejad is too popular for that sort of censorship, and Ahmadinejad is not corrupt. His rants against Israel and the Jews, while a bit much for some clerics, is also not grounds for being declared "un-Islamic" and ineligible to run for election. Ahmadinejad is quite respectful of Islam and most Moslem clerics, but willing to go after clerics who are dirty. This is also quite popular with most Iranians, and that scares the dirty clerics at the top.
So why have the clerics decided to accuse Ahmadinejad cronies of sorcery? That's because in most countries where there is a dominant religion, especially a state approved one, there is usually still a fear that the previous religion (or religions) will try to make a comeback. The former faiths often involved some really old-school stuff, including magic and sometimes animal, or even human, sacrifice. It is not uncommon for there to be civil laws covering those accused to be practicing sorcery, and severe punishments for those convicted. At the very least, the accused will be driven from any senior government jobs they might hold, and that's what's being done to dozens of Ahmadinejad associates.