Recently, an acquaintance of my wife returned from a trip to Iran, her country of origin. In addition to noting the runaway inflation and stark increase in poverty, she was surprised by the heightened level of separatist sentiment in various regions.
That sentiment took a violent turn in southwestern city of Ahvaz today. Separatists attacked an Iranian military parade, killing at 29 people and wounding 70 more.
The attackers disguised themselves as members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and proceeded to open fire on the marchers and others in attendance. Iran blamed “U.S. puppets,” including Saudi Arabia, for backing the group(s) from which the attackers allegedly came. The U.S. rightly condemned the attack.
Entifadh Qanbar offers context:
[The] timing of this attack sends very deep messages. Today September 22nd is the anniversary of the beginning of the Iraqi Iranian war in which I served 5 years and Ahvaz was liberated by the Iraqi Army and stayed within the control of Iraq for almost three years.
People of Ahvaz who are majority Sunni Arabs have very strong tribal ties to their cousins on the other side of the water divide which is Shat Al Arab, and are severely persecuted and discriminated by Tehran. I met some Ahvazis who told me that they are not even allowed to name their newly born babies Arabic names and [are] treated as second class citizens.
While the Iranian regime, to the detriment of the Iranian people, expends significant resources on foreign adventurism, including efforts to help Assad unify Syria under his dictatorial control, Tehran’s dictatorial control over portions of Iran may be diminishing.