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Eight Dead in Iran Bombing

A government office in Ahvaz, the Sunni Arab-majority capital of the Khuzestan province, was bombed followed shortly by a blast in the streets in front of a nearby bank, killing eight and wounding upwards of 40 others. This tactic is reminiscent of those used in Iraq and Israel, where the second blast is coordinated to kill and maim both the victims fleeing the original blast and first responders racing toward the scene. The local government denied rumors of a third explosion at the Pars Hotel. The Iranian state-run news agency IRNA quickly reported the victims as ‘martyred’, never to let an opportunity to fuel perceived religious conflict pass by unused.

Iranian Arab separatists claimed responsibility for two bombings in Khuzestan in June and October of 2005. A video from the Moheddine Al-Nasser Martyr Brigades responsible for the June bombing shows them observing the blast from a car, then pulling through the streets admiring the carnage and mayhem they inflicted. Note that the camera has been mounted inside to the back deck of the car as it shakes once for the bomb, and then again as at least two people get into the car, first the passenger, then the driver, who were observing from outside the vehicle as the mounted camera rolled. Today’s bombing is likely the work again of Iranian Arab separatist terrorists, possibly the same group.

AhvazIranian President Ahmadinejad was scheduled to visit and speak in the city today, but canceled yesterday citing sandstorms as the cause. It appears the planned attacks were carried out regardless, and were reportedly not close to where he was expected to deliver a speech. In biting irony, President Ahmadinejad condemned the attacks as acts of terrorism, saying, “Iran has always been a victim for terrorist attacks and the sworn enemies of Iranians are continuing with their crimes and blind terrorism.” Perhaps Ahmadinejad prefers ‘terrorism with a vision’ over ‘blind terrorism’, such as that practiced by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, who enjoy support from Iran to the tune of $110 million per year.

The Khuzestan province in Iran is home to Iran’s largest oil fields and part of the second largest known reserves in the world. It is also a Sunni Arab majority province. Only 3% of Iranians are Sunni, and most live in the Khuzestan province, the only Sunni Arab majority province in Iran. The anti-mullah groups (including terrorist groups, such as the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization [MEK]) and their attacks on the Iranian regime present a moral dilemma for the United States. Does the United States and her allies support the anti-mullah resistance in Iran, even when they resort to terrorist tactics? The answer to the dilemma is quite simple. While democratic opposition to the Iranian regime should have been attentively fostered and materially supported by the United States decades ago, no group that carries out bombings targeting civilians in the streets should receive any degree of support from the US whatsoever.

The MEK, who has reportedly not conducted any attacks inside Iran since 2001, was placed on the State Department’s Terrorist List by President Clinton as a gesture to Iran after the ‘moderate reformist’ Mohammad Khatami was elected president. It is also worth noting that Saddam Hussein played off the sectarian and ethnic differences of the area by housing displaced Khuzestan Sunni Arabs in Iraq (including members of the MEK). This has led to altercations and increased tension between the Shi’a and Sunni in the southern region of Iraq. While the Iranian regime is criticised for its inhumane treatment of Arabs in Khuzestan (see Human Rights Watch), the development of terror organizations and tactics similar to those used by al-Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgents - perhaps related to them - remains a possibility and just as wrong a tactic, again pointing to a fundamental question of the belief system necessary to turn to such a means of combating a perceived injustice.

The current lack of palatable alternatives for the West (and specifically the United States) to employ to challenge the Mullahcracy in its undeniable quest for nuclear weapons is directly borne of the lack of support given to Iranian internal democratic opposition over the past two decades.

The price to be paid for past inaction is a choice between bad and worse. But choose we must. With alacrity.

Feedback

Dear Mr. Schippert,

You are wrong to associate the MEK to terrorism against the mullahs. The MEK participated in the semi-democratic process after the fall of the Shah and were driven underground by the same bully tactics and hooliganism and state-sponsored vigilantes that rule in Iran today. In the absence of civil and political liberties, any group that abides by the rules of warfare has an inalienable right to resistance. Look at your own American revolution, etc. The MEK have not deliberately targeted civilians and not a single case can be shown or proven. It is all mullahs propaganda.
The MEK are a disciplined, highly-educated, and devoted group of Iranian activists who have stood alone on the frontline to terror and Islamic fundamentalism for at least 27 years now – well before the West finally realised the threat. They have warned, pleaded and urged vigilance against “Islamic Fundamentalism: The New Global Threat” for years, only to be brushed aside by skeptical intellectuals and Orientalists in Europe and the US, as being too keen to drum up a negative image of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They have tried to educate a skeptical Western audience about the enormous capacity of the Islamic fundamentalists to inflict pain and suffering on the social fabric of modern society, ripping it asunder and thrusting it into a convulsion of crises that it can only benefit from. Yet, many in the West, have in the past, looked on with a sense of bewilderment and disbelief at how any human being can be as cruel and devastating as the Mujahedin claim Iran’s ruling clique to be. Now, over four years after September 11, and other atrocities in Bali, Pakistan, Madrid, London, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is beginning to sink in that we are really faced with a global conflict between a very inhuman, sadistic, yet totally devoted ideology of hatred on the one hand, and the rest of the modern world with a colorful range of beliefs and ideas and yet with no steadfast defender to match the enemy’s resolve.
I fear that when you finally understand it will be too late. I hope not.

Regards
Mohamed

arabs in the west, baluchis in the east, and kurds in the north. iran is a land of opportunities.

Good analysis by Mr. Schippert. I think Mohammad's comments on MEK are right since I have known this movement for some time. How can a state sponsor of terrorism have a strong opposition who is also a terrorist? It is not logical. You can not fight a devil if you are a devil.

I have posted a link which shows some pictures of a large Rally in front of the white house by the supporters of this group in Washington DC.
Thousands of Iranian Americans rally in front of he white house urging bush to remove the opposition group from the terror list