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Terrorism & Security

Suicide bombing outside Iran mosque kills dozens

The attack in southeastern Iran came as Shiites commemorated Ashura, one of the most important holidays of the year for Shiites. At least 38 were killed and more than 50 were wounded.

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The Monitor reported at the time that the capture was a coup for Iran, which has long alleged that the group, which operates partly from bases in Pakistan, has Western backing. Iran’s intelligence minister said at the time that Rigi had been on a US military base in Afghanistan, and was cooperating with American, British, and Israeli intelligence services.

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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. 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.

“US officials say the US relationship with Jundallah is arranged so that the US provides no funding to the group, which would require an official presidential order,” according to ABC. It quoted “tribal sources” saying that “money for Jundallah is funneled to its youthful leader [Rigi] through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.”

The US has repeatedly denied any connection to the group. But speculation was fueled by the fact that Jundallah was not on the State Department’s list of groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations. The State Department added Jundallah to the list last month. The L.A. Times reported that some analysts took it as a gesture of goodwill toward Tehran at a time when Western powers are attempting to persuade Iran to conduct negotiations on its nuclear program.

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