Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif today accused Saudi Arabia of having continued to support Sunni militant factions inside Iran, saying such support continued even after a high-profile ISIS attack inside the capital city of Tehran.
Zarif said Iranian intelligence believes that the Saudis are “actively engaged” in supporting Sunni militant factions inside Balochistan, the eastern portion of the country, which borders Pakistan. While Iran is overwhelmingly Shi’ite, there is a large Sunni minority, and they are heavily concentrated in Balochistan.
This would not be unusual, as militant factions in Iranian Balochistan, like Jundallah, are often Islamist factions, and have been known to solicit foreign backing. Saudi Arabia has been eager to support actions against Iran, and that doubtless includes some militant factions.
Zarif suggested one potential solution to this would be the establishment of a permanent mechanism for nations within the Middle East to seek conflict resolution with one another, citing the 1975 Helsinki Accords as a potential model for such a solution.
Iran has little to no diplomatic ties with a number of Sunni nations in the Middle East, and thus are rarely able to solicit diplomatic resolutions to disputes, with nations instead tending to grand-stand and threaten military retaliation if they don’t get their way.
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