Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Iranian cleavage becomes more visible

Our textbooks dutifully note that ethnic (national) cleavages in Iran involve minorities on the borders. Sometimes, they become more visible because of deadly events like those of last week.

Iran Executes 16 Sunni Insurgents in Retaliation for an Attack
The Iranian authorities executed 16 Sunni insurgents on Saturday, Iranian media reported, in retaliation for an attack a day earlier that killed 14 guards on the volatile southeastern border with Pakistan…

The retaliatory response highlights the deep tensions in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, a hotbed of Sunni resistance against the Shiite Islamic Republic of Iran. The border area shared by Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan has long resembled a war zone, and more than 3,500 members of Iranian security forces have been killed in clashes with smugglers transporting heroin and opium to Iran, Turkey and Europe.

The attack on the border guards was preceded by the killing of two members of the influential Rigi family, who in the past decade have led an armed separatist struggle in the province seeking independence from Iran and involving suicide attacks, assassinations and abductions.

Web sites connected to separatist groups said the men, Karim Rigi and Gholamreza Rigi, were killed on Oct. 16 by local Iranian security forces, although official Web sites deny involvement…

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