Islamic Republic of Iran

Amarante

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Jun 22, 2021
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La Défense, France
(raids (fr), oct.06) # Sistan-Balouchistan

IRAN: SITUATION DETERIORATES IN SISTAN-BALUCHISTAN

The revolt that has been shaking Iran since mid-September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian woman of Kurdish origin aged 22 who died after being arrested by the vice police, is now spreading to many regions of the country.

One of the most sensitive is Sistan-Baluchistan (South-East), bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

After relatively peaceful protests that began in mid-September, the violence really started on 30 September with stone-throwing at a police station in the provincial capital, Zahedan. Armed men then fired at the same building and banks and government offices were reportedly looted and burned. Security forces responded by firing indiscriminately at armed rioters and demonstrators.

Iranian Sunni leader Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi (pictured right) also accused the country's security forces of deploying snipers at gatherings in Zahedan. A video posted on social networks shows Friday prayers on 30 September being interrupted by gunfire near a Sunni mosque in Zahedan.

According to the provincial authorities, the death toll from the clashes was at least sixty, including two Pasdaran colonels. Humanitarian organisations put the death toll at over 90. Internet access in Zahedan was cut off from the end of September until the evening of 2 October.

The reason given by the demonstrators for this outburst of violence was the rape, torture and murder of a 15-year-old Baluchi girl (Sunni ethnic-religious minority) by the chief of police of the town of Chabahar.

The jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), heir to Jundallah which disappeared in 2012 after the death of its leaders, claimed responsibility for the attack on the police station. Led by Salahuddin Farooqui, Jaish al-Adl has links with another regional jihadist group, Ansar Al-Furqan. Tehran used this as a pretext to label the protesters as "Baluchi terrorists supported by Saudi 'foreign agents'" and justify the violent repression.

Like the people of Iranian Kurdistan, the inhabitants of Sistan-Baluchistan are discriminated against by the Shiite government because of their Sunni faith. This situation and the geographical proximity of Afghanistan and Pakistan have led to a semi-insurgent situation in the region for years. This is reflected in the kidnapping of border guards, bombings and targeted assassinations. For example, on 13 February 2019, 27 Pasdaran were killed and 13 injured in a suicide attack on the bus carrying them. This action was claimed by Jaish al-Adl.

As has been the case in the past, the authorities are taking control of the situation using three methods:
. a severe repression ;
. the accusation of the responsibility of "foreign agents" (the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia) ;
. counter-demonstrations supporting the regime, usually organised by Basij militias.
It is therefore unlikely that a 'revolution' (1) will occur unless an exceptional event occurs; for example, the death of the Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (born in 1939) which, in any case, will lead to a problem of succession. /deepl

1. See: "Iran, a revolt? No, a (possible) revolution", 3 October 2022.
 

BMD

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Dec 4, 2017
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