The Iranian regime has accused the US of backing a group it says is linked to Al-Qaeda for a bomb attack on a bus in Balochistan in the east of Iran, which killed 12 members of the Revolutionary Guards.
Jundullah (Army of Allah), an Islamist group operating in the Balochi homeland, claimed responsibility for the attack in Zahedan. Police say they have arrested 65 suspects with links to British and US intelligence and the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. They also claim that the bombs were manufactured by US forces.
The regime's far-fetched conspiracy theory has parallels with its claim of British and US involvement in bomb attacks in the Ahwazi Arab homeland in Khuzestan, bordering Iraq, during 2005 and 2006. It has made various unproven claims relating to the perpetrators of the Ahwaz attacks, including British soldiers, British-sponsored Arab separatists, Arab reformist groups, the Iraq-based Mujahideen-e-Khalq, Iraqi Ba'athists and Saudi Wahhabists. The regime does not appear to make any distinction between the ideological differences between the groups it says are backed by Western forces.
Balochistan straddles the Iran-Pakistan border and is predominantly Sunni. Balochis have long-standing grievances relating to religious persecution by the Shia-dominated regime in Tehran, high rates of poverty and state terrorism. The situation in the Balochi and Ahwazi Arab homelands is similar, although the Ahwazis are mostly Shia. The regime's treatment of Balochis and Arabs is identical: ethnic repression, mass arrests of dissidents, arbitrary and illegal killings, land confiscations and forced displacement. The regime tends to blame any reaction among these ethnic groups to its brutal oppression on foreign governments.