WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday officially designated the shadowy Sunni rebel group Jundallah a foreign terrorist organization as it blamed it for a series of attacks in Iran.
“Since its inception in 2003, Jundallah has engaged in numerous attacks resulting in the death and maiming of scores of Iranian civilians and government officials, primarily in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province,” the US State Department said in a statement.
“Jundallah uses a variety of terrorist tactics, including suicide bombings, ambushes, kidnappings and targeted assassinations,” it added.
Jundallah (Soldiers of God) says it is fighting for the interests of the southeastern province's large ethnic Baluch community, who unlike most Iranians, mainly follow the Sunni branch of Islam.
In July it claimed responsibility for attacking the Grand Mosque in the provincial capital Zahedan, reportedly targeting members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, killing 28 people.
The State Department statement “condemned the Grand Mosque attack in the strongest possible terms.” ”The United States extends its sympathy to the families and loved ones of those injured and killed. The president and the secretary called for the perpetrators of this horrific attack to be held accountable for their actions,” the statement said.
Officials in Washington said the designation is key to the US fight against terror groups around the world.
The label as a terrorist organization means US citizens and companies are prohibited from providing material support or resources to Jundallah.
It also blocks any property and or funds belonging to the group in the United States.
The Baluchis straddle the border with neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan and Jundallah militants have taken advantage of the unrest in the region to find safe haven in the frontier region. – AFP