The People's Resistance Movement of Iran (aka Jondallah) issued a new statement this evening, which concerns the Iranian border guards the group took hostage three weeks ago.
Here's the gist of the message, translated from the Persian:
This message is more emphatic and virulent than their 27 June statement, which was blunt:
"If by 11 July 2008 the political prisoners of
Baluchistanare not released and the bombing of (our) regions has not ceased, then two more guards—by the names of Javad Hasanzadeh and Ali Ismailzadeh—will be executed.
It must be mentioned that the guards who were arrested are all war criminals with blood on their hands. They have all confessed to their crimes and transgressions and the Movement (Jondallah) will not hesitate to execute such criminals."
In the name of God
The People’s Resistance Movement of Iran [Jondallah] hereby announces that on this evening of Friday 27 June 2008 two guards by the names of Isa Pudineh and Reza Rahdari were executed after a trial through the Movement’s judicial branch.
In this communiqué the PRMI sends notice to the general public that the “clerical regime” [lit. regime of the “rule of the jurisprudent”] pays no heed to the fate of its butchers and the criminals, and as of today it has not answered the warriors demands. Men’s blood is on the hands of these criminals, [and we] want to exchange these criminal guards for innocent Baluch youth.
In this communiqué to the “clerical regime,” the Movement gives two weeks for its demands to be met. And if they are not met, the 12 remaining guards will be executed.
People’s Resistance Movement of
In their latest statement, Jondallah reiterates the justness of its cause (freedom for the Baluchi Sunnis), talks about the oppression of the Sunnis under the Shia government, and points to specific examples of how Baluchis are depicted as unclean infidels.
This type of argument, at least the way it is framed, is as old as the Islamic Revolution. (But autonomist movements in Iran have antecedents that go back much further.) Segments of Sunni Kurds and Baluch (as well as Arabs and Turkmen) have long accused the Iranian government--which is a Shia theocracy--of oppression and prejudicial treatment.
What is new, however, is that Jondallah (as an organization) has taken on a Salafi-Islamist veneer. Salafism and related Islamist movements (such as the Taliban, which no doubt have inspired Jondallah) have historically held little attraction for Iran's ethnic Sunni minorities, which largely practice more traditional (folk) forms of Islam.
If such an ideology begins to spread or becomes more widely embraced within the supportive Baluch community, Iran could have a more acute problem on its hands.