- While Shiite Muslims dominate the Iranian population, Sunnis constitute only 9% of the total population
- With an eye on expanding the surveillance all over the country, Iranian parliament raised the budget of cyber security and counter-terrorism in 2016
- The counter-terrorism unit has also been assigned with the duty to gather information and carry out underhanded operations within the country and even outside it
Iran, June 12, 2017: Terrorist attacks in major Iranian cities are rare but the Sistan-Baluchistan province seems to be the most attractive and desirable target of extremists of Iran country.
The religious division of the country makes it prone to such rampages and attacks minority religious groups. While Shiite Muslims dominate the Iranian population, Sunnis constitute only 9% of the total population.
It was here that, in between 2013-2015, approximately 32 Iranian border guards lost their lives as a consequence of the communal riots. A Sunni Muslim insurgent group, Jaish al- Adl led these massive killings as a protest against the discrimination based on the lines of religion.
Terrorist attacks are mainly orchestrated near the prominent structures and at the heart of the capital of the country. They targeted the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic and the Parliament building slaughtering 17 people and leaving even more severely injured. Iranian government took the responsibility for that terrorist assault on itself.
According to Iran investigation Wing, five of the assailants belonged to Iran who had escaped from the country to become a part of that militant group but finally returned to Iran last year, mentioned latimes.com report.
From then, the Iranian government has managed to prevent such devastating and massive bloodshed to some extent. This is how it has managed to keep a check on such violence.
The existence of Sunni community in the poverty-stricken hinterlands create bottlenecks for them in their assaulting activities as conducting attacks in the populous areas would require technical skills, travelling expenses and other expenditure.
Apart from this, Iran has ensured the police force and military forces in the susceptible regions including the residential areas of Sunni community. The counter-terrorism unit has also been assigned with the duty to gather information and carry out underhanded operations within the country and even outside it.
According to Ariane Tabatabai who is a professor of security studies, Iran rose with a new anti-terrorism policy when Islamic State came into power in 2014. Iran “noticed the Islamic State was more brutal and had a clear anti-Shiite and anti-Iran agenda,” she said. As a part of this strategy, Iran helped Iraq with money and terrorism resistance as well as Syria with equipments to join hands with President Bashar Assad.
With an eye on expanding the surveillance all over the country, Iranian parliament raised the budget of cyber security and counter-terrorism in 2016. Through this Iranian officials have managed to block the bridge between Iranians and Islamic militant groups. Besides this, the country also conducts doctrine activities destined to deter Sunnis from radicalization and whitewash their religious differences.In order to increase manpower in the security force, Iran has made the use of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
“Iran is reaching out to people beyond its border to say that the Islamic State is not actually Islamic and that there is no difference between Sunnis and Shiites,” Tabatabai said. “Iran has had a tough time selling that message to people, but it’s trying.”
It becomes clear that Iran is one of the favourite terrorist spot from the fact that in March, a 36-minute video message was released which instigated Sunni population to attack the Iranian government.
“This attack shows us how Iran is no longer immune,” said Vali Nasr, dean of Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies. “Attacks that we have seen in other Middle East cities and Western capitals [are] now happening in Tehran. Citizens cannot trust it won’t happen again.”
– prepared by Himanshi Goyal of Newsgram, Twitter: @himanshi1104