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US designates Iran's Jundallah as terrorist organization

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Jundallah is an extremist Sunni group operating in mostly Shiite Iran
  • It is accused of several high-profile attacks in Iran
  • Material support to the group is outlawed by the designation

Washington (CNN) -- The United States has officially designated Iranian extremist group Jundallah as a foreign terrorist organization, the State Department said Wednesday.

Jundallah, also known as the People's Resistance Movement of Iran, operates primarily in the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders Pakistan.

The State Department said Jundallah "has engaged in numerous attacks resulting in the death and maiming of scores of Iranian civilians and government officials. Jundallah uses a variety of terrorist tactics, including suicide bombings, ambushes, kidnappings and targeted assassinations."

Most recently, the Sunni group claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in July at the Zahedan Grand Mosque. The attacks targeting Shiite worshipers killed 27 people. Iranian leaders said the United States was behind the attacks.

The State Department also accuses Jundallah of a mosque attack in May 2009 and an October 2009 bombing that killed more than 40 people. It said the group reaffirmed its commitment to terrorist activities after Iranian authorities captured its leader, Abdul Malik Rigi, in February. The group quickly announced a new leader, Al-Hajj Mohammed Dhahir Baluch.

The State Department's current list of foreign terrorist groups numbers 46 and includes al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Basque separatist group ETA and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The designation means that individuals, property and interests linked to Jundallah are prohibited in the United States and it is illegal for Americans to provide any material support -- including donations -- to the organization, according to the State Department.

"Designations of terrorist organizations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to abandon terrorism," said a news release from the State Department.