A report received on May 31,2009, from a source believed to be based in Zahidan, the capital of the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochistan,speaks of an exchange of fire between groups of Shias and Sunnis in different parts of Zahidan following an unsuccessful attempt by unidentified persons to kill Mulla Abdol Hamid, a senior Sunni leader. While he survived the attack, many of his body guards were reportedly injured.
2.According to the Government controlled IRNA news agency, three persons were injured on May 29,2009, when unidentified gunmen attacked the election office of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Zahidan. Ahmadinejad is contesting re-election as the President. The polling is scheduled for June 12,2009.
3.Meanwhile, the Iranian authorities have blamed the US and Israel for the suicide attack in a Shia mosque on May 28,2009. They have already announced the hanging in public in Zahidan of three persons in connection with the attack. While the authorities have accused them of having been involved in the attack, independent reports claim that these persons were already in the custody of the police when the suicide attack took place in the mosque.
4.Jalal Sayah, Deputy Governor-General of Sistan-Balochistan, has been quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying: “Three people involved with the terrorist incident were arrested.According to the information obtained, they were hired by America and the agents of the arrogance.” Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsooli said: “The terror agents are neither Sunni nor Shia but Americans and Israelis seeking a Shia-Sunni divide." The Agence France Presse has quoted Ian Kelly, a spokesman of the US State Department, as saying: “The US strongly condemns all forms of terrorism. We do not sponsor any form of terrorism in Iran and we continue to work with the international community to try to prevent any attacks against innocent civilians anywhere.”
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )