Photo courtesy of ISNA

(15 December 2010) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran condemned a suicide bombing that reportedly killed at least 39 people at the Imam Hossein Mosque in the southeastern city of Chabahar, Iran.  The attack targeted mourners during the holy Shiite ceremonies leading up to Ashura.

“This deplorable murder of innocent people cannot be justified, and violates the beliefs and values of all who seek peace and justice in Iran,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the spokesperson for the Campaign.

“We hope this grotesque act will not lead to reprisals harming other innocent citizens,” he added.

Chabahar is a port city on the Gulf of Oman in the Sistan and Baluchistan province, one of the least developed and most impoverished regions of Iran. Bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, the province has been the scene of armed conflict between Jundullah, a Sunni armed group, and government forces. Iran alleges that Jundullah is funded by western intelligences services. The US State Department recently added Jundullah to their list of terrorist organizations. In addition, drug smuggling and instability in Pakistan and Afghanistan have contributed to increased movement of arms and armed groups across Iran’s eastern border.

“There are serious concerns about ethnic discrimination in the region,” said Ghaemi. “Indiscriminate violence, such as the recent terrorist acts, however, has only diverted attention from fundamental human rights, social and economic issues.”

As the number of terrorist attacks in the region has grown over the past few years, so has the number of executions carried out by the government. The recent indiscriminate attack raises grave concerns about human security in Sistan and Baluchistan, in which over the last few years many ordinary citizens have been targeted by other inhumane and barbaric attacks.

The Campaign urged the Iranian government to use all means to ensure that political disputes and struggles between the government and those who employ such brutal methods does not escalate, leading either to further political executions or terrorist acts.

The Campaign also called on the government of Pakistan to deny sanctuary to armed groups who may plan and launch such terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians from its territory.