Iran: At Least 29 Dead In Clashes Between Militants, Security Forces In Southeast


(RFE/RL) — More than two dozen Iranian government forces and militants from Jaish al-Adl, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Iran and several Western countries including the United States, have been killed in clashes in the southeast of the country in a flareup of violence in the underprivileged province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

Law enforcement officials told local media that the clashes lasted nearly 14 hours, leaving left 11 government troops and 18 militants dead in the cities of Rask, Sarbaz, and Chabahar. The deputy security minister of the Interior Ministry confirmed the deaths and injuries of security personnel and said the number of fatalities could potentially rise on both sides.

Alireza Daliri, the deputy law enforcement commander in Sistan-Baluchistan, said the militants had also precipitated a hostage-taking situation, but that it had ended with “all” of the attackers being killed. It was not clear whether those casualties were part of the numbers law enforcement had quoted earlier.

Jaish al-Adl, which ostensibly seeks greater rights for the ethnic Baluch minority, operates mostly in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province but is also suspected to be in neighboring Pakistan.

In an assault by the militants on the regional headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and police military bases in Rask and Chabahar, at least five security personnel were killed, according to security reports. The state-run news agency IRNA said the casualties included a soldier, an IRGC member, a Basij paramilitary member, and two law enforcement officers.

IRGC ground forces Commander Mohammad Pakpour said the attackers targeted several locations in simultaneous operations.

This deadly incident is the latest significant confrontation between Iranian forces and Jaish al-Adl, following the group’s claimed attack on a police station in Rask on January 20, which resulted in one law enforcement fatality.

Members of the Baluch minority, many of whom are Sunni Muslims in Shi’a-majority Iran, have long faced disproportionate discrimination and violence at the hands of the authorities.

The area, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, has also long been a key transit route for narcotics smuggled from Afghanistan to the West and beyond.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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