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Iran’s grasp is loosening on its eastern borders


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FDD's Long War Journal

Janatan Sayeh

April 4, 2024

On April 4, Iranian media reported a series of attacks by the Baluch separatist group Jaish al-Adl in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan Province. The militants claimed they targeted six regime outposts in the port city of Chabahar and the border town Rask, which are more than 100 miles apart.

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Iran and Pakistan Fail to Coordinate, Despite Sharing the Threat

Baluch separatism implicates both Iranian and Pakistani sovereignty, yet the two countries have shown limited willingness to cooperatively address this shared concern. Following the Dec. 2023 Jaish al-Adl attack on Rask, Iran carried out a series of missile and drone strikes in Pakistani Baluchistan, claiming to have targeted militants hiding in Pakistan. This move inevitably angered Pakistan, which prompted the country to strike Iranian villages by its borders. Diplomatic relations deteriorated as a result, with Pakistan recalling its ambassador and Iran threatening Pakistan with military escalation. The two countries eventually healed their broken ties, and the Pakistani Ambassador to Iran was quick to condemn the most recent Jaish al-Adl attacks.

Iran’s “non-Iranians”

Iran’s Baluchistan Province has faced systemic neglect and is considered Iran’s most impoverished province, making it a tinderbox for anti-regime protests. To avoid taking responsibility for this population, the Islamic Republic often describes its Baluch community as “foreign nationals” and “non-Iranians.” For instance, in the aftermath of the Pakistani bombing of Iranian villages earlier this year that killed four children, the regime sought to downplay the attacks by claiming that the victims were “non-Iranians.”

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