Iran executes 13 Sunni rebels
The condemned were members of Jundallah, which claims to fight for the rights of Sunnis in majority-Shiite Iran. The government has accused the group of ties to Pakistan and the US.
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The execution of Jundallah fighters will heighten tensions between Iran and its neighbor Pakistan. Earlier this month, Iran's prosecutor general asked Islamabad to "take necessary measures to prevent terrorists from taking shelter in [Pakistan]," reports Press TV, a state-run news network.Skip to next paragraph
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After the mosque attack in Zahedan in May this year, The News, an English-language Pakistani daily, reported that Jundallah's activities threaten "not only the Pak-Iran diplomatic ties but also the future of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project."
The sources said Iranian officials had expressed their deep concern over the failure of the Pakistani authorities to proceed against the Jundullah network in Pakistan despite having been given specific intelligence....
Diplomatic circles in Islamabad say Tehran's concern over the growing terrorist activities of Jundullah ... could be gauged from the fact that its Ambassador to Pakistan Mashallah Shakeri had addressed an unusual press conference in Islamabad on March 20, accusing Pakistan of allowing its soil to be used against Iran and demanding concrete steps to contain its activities.
While claiming that the Jundullah network was located inside the Balochistan province, Shakeri had asked Islamabad to curb its anti-Iran activities by taking a decisive action against its leadership.
Tehran has also accused the US and Britain of supporting Jundallah to foment sectarian strife in the hope of destabilising the Tehran government. Iranian suspicions of American perfidy were fuelled by reports in some mainstream US media outlets last year that Jundallah was being secretly encouraged and advised by American officials to destabilise the Iranian regime.
Washington and London have denied all such accusations, as well as Iranian claims that they have stirred the crisis that has gripped Iran since the June elections.... [Jundallah leader] Rigi also took the opportunity to deny that his group is connected in any way to the US....
But Tehran is using purported confessions from Rigi's condemned brother to bolster its claims of western malfeasance. Iran's state-run English language television station, Press TV, quoted him as saying that the Jundallah leader was on the payroll of the US military.