Skip to main content

WikiLeaks: Iran 'losing effective control' of restive province

By the CNN Wire Staff
The cable cited a source who said President Ahmadinejad's government aggravated the situation by harassing Sunnis.
The cable cited a source who said President Ahmadinejad's government aggravated the situation by harassing Sunnis.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. diplomats in Azerbaijan report increased unrest in southeastern Iran
  • A rail line is a target of rocket attacks, a U.S. diplomatic cable says
  • The document is among the vast cache WikiLeaks began releasing Sunday

(CNN) -- Iran faces increased ethnic unrest in one of its southeastern provinces, mirroring similar trouble in neighboring Pakistan, U.S. diplomats in Azerbaijan reported in a cable disclosed by the website WikiLeaks this week.

A rail line connecting Iran and Pakistan "has recently been repeatedly subject to rocket attacks and other disruption" by tribes in Sistan-Balochistan province, a largely Sunni Muslim province of the majority-Shiite Islamic republic, according to a June 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Baku. In addition, one source told U.S. diplomats, Tehran was "rife with rumors" that police were leaving their posts empty at night "due to the increased danger of attack."

The cable stated that several Iranian contacts -- "including apolitical businessmen" -- reported that a pair of bombings in the spring of 2009 "reflect a surge in Balochi violence in the border area and inside Pakistan that has been building steadily over several years."

It added, "According to one source, the Iranian security forces may be losing effective control over growing areas in the countryside."

WikiLeaks next target: U.S. bank
Assange: No one has been harmed
WikiLeaks: How does it work?
RELATED TOPICS

The document is among the vast cache of U.S. State Department papers that WikiLeaks, a website known for leaking official secrets, began releasing Sunday to widespread condemnation from the United States and its allies.

The memo was written just weeks after a bombing in the provincial capital of Zahedan that left more than 20 people dead. Iran accused members of the Pakistan-based Sunni rebel group Jundullah of fomenting trouble on its side of the border and accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of funding the group.

But the cable cited another source who said the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad aggravated the situation by harassing Sunnis and appointing a "stupid, brutal" ally as governor until 2008.

"He claimed that these practices, combined with high unemployment, perceived discrimination and few government services, has increased anger among Balochis, and identification of the central government as an 'enemy,'" the cable states.

Pakistan has struggled with similar unrest in its southwestern province of Balochistan, which borders Iran. The provincial capital of Quetta has been plagued by sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims, along with Baloch separatist militant groups who want political autonomy.

Part of complete coverage on
What next for Julian Assange?
What next for WikiLeaks editor and founder Julian Assange, now that he's been released on bail in the UK?
Assange condemns investigations
Julian Assange says the sexual misconduct charges against him are little more than an effort to discredit him and his organization.
Assange released on bail
WikiLeaks editor walks out of London court after being freed on bail nine days after being arrested for questioning about alleged sex crimes in Sweden.
Assange's apparent online dating life
In 2006, Julian Assange was apparently looking for a date. After launching WikiLeaks, he evidently created a profile on OkCupid.com.
Assange finds celebrity support
A court in London found itself in the world's spotlight, as a small army of celebrities turned up to offer support -- and bail money -- to Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks rival set to launch
The founders of Openleaks.org say they are former WikiLeaks members unhappy with the way the organization is being run under Julian Assange.
Amazon.com attack planned
Hackers who support WikiLeaks want others to replicate the attacks they say took down the websites of MasterCard and Visa.
Expert: 'Poison pill' can't be stopped
Does Julian Assange's threat to release "Doomsday Files" from Wikileaks carry validity?
 
Quick Job Search