Subscribe to FDD

Iran’s Enemies

They are many and varied.

Iran’s Enemies

Reuel Marc Gerecht
1st October 2018 - The Weekly Standard

An excerpt from the op-ed follows:

The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Al-Ahwaz has claimed credit for the recent terrorist attack at a military parade in Iran’s Khuzestan Province that killed 25 people and wounded 60. It should surprise no one that this occurred in the heavily Arab province. Separatist Arab groups have regularly struck at the clerical regime, killing regime officials, allied locals, and civilians. An autonomous region until the coming of Reza Shah Pahlavi, who squashed independent tribal confederations throughout Iran in the 1920s, Khuzestan is oil-rich but poor. Although Sunni Arabs may be on the cutting edge of anger against the central government, many Shiites, who are the overwhelming majority of the Arab denizens of the region, appear to be similarly inclined to remonstrate violently against their Iranian overlords. As in Iraq, where Shiite Arabs are becoming more openly hostile to Iranians and the Iraqi militias allied to them, the ancient “Arab-Ajam” divide in Persia can transcend Shiite fraternity.


In modern times, Iran has had a stubborn, often violent minorities problem that goes far beyond the Arabs. Kurdish leaders and oppositionists have been assassinated at home and abroad, most famously by an Iranian hit team at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin in 1992. Periodically, large swaths of Iranian Baluchestan become no-go areas at night for Iranian security forces, especially when a fierce localism overlaps with the drug trade that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps tries more to control than stop. Ethnic clashes often go unreported and misreported in the Western press. We really don’t know the exact ethnic balance in Iran—census figures in the Middle East, a region of fragile national and competitive religious identities, should never be trusted.

Read the full article here.

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 

Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD, and follow the work of FDD’s Iran Project @FDD_Iran. FDD is a Washington-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.