Thursday, 22 October 2009

Iran's Biggest Worry: Growing Ethnic Conflict

By ROBERT BAER (October 21, 2009) The Iranian regime has a problem, and it's not a velvet revolution or Israel's threat to bomb its nuclear facilities. No, what really keeps the mullahs up at night is the specter of ethnic and sectarian conflict — more attacks like the bombing on Oct. 18 in the remote southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which killed 42 people, including five senior officers of the Revolutionary Guards Corps. The country's leaders cannot help but worry that the same divisions ripping apart Afghanistan and Pakistan are about to visit them.

Tehran immediately blamed outsiders — the U.S., Great Britain and Pakistan — for Sunday's suicide bombing because it cannot admit that it has its own homegrown Taliban. Whatever Iran says about Jundallah, the ethnic Baluch group that claimed responsibility for the attack, it's an indigenous movement.

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