Iran rebel group Jundallah announces new leader
Iran rebel group Jundallah – a Sunni organization that Shiite-dominated Iran says is backed by the US – announced its choice of a new leader after the other commander was captured last week.
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Rigi’s capture is a coup for authorities in Tehran, who have accused the US and the West of backing rebellious minority factions such as Rigi’s Jundallah … Such groups and alleged US, British, and other intelligence and military support for them have been the subject of speculation for years, as Washington spoke openly about conducting “regime change” in Iran during the administration of President George W. Bush.Skip to next paragraph
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Several news reports have described CIA and other backing for Jundallah, which often operated from Pakistan. ABC News reported in April 2007 that Jundallah “has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005,” based on US and Pakistani intelligence sources. … The US government has denied the claims of CIA or any other support.
Iran continued its narrative of US support for the militant group with a televised confession from Rigi on Thursday. The Los Angeles Times (which posted a video of the confession) reports that Rigi appeared at times to be reading a prepared statement as he said he had been offered support from America after President Obama’s election.
The New York Times reports that’s Rigi’s confession appeared to be carefully worded to make clear that the supposed contacts between Jundallah and the US had come during the Obama administration.
The very first words of the statement are: “After Obama was elected, the Americans contacted us and they met me in Pakistan.” The statement is even strangely specific about the timing of the first contact from the new administration. Mr. Rigi said that American intelligence officers promised to provide “military equipment, arms and machine guns” to his fighters “around March 17" of 2009.
That date is significant because, if true, it would mean that President Obama’s administration was offering to arm militants fighting an ethnic insurgency the very same week that the president himself delivered this video greeting to the people of Iran on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian new year.