Thursday, October 18, 2007

Iran's al-Qaida dilemma

by Meir Javedanfar and Alex Vatanka from The Jerusalem Post

Hojjatoleslam Hesham Seimori, the resident mid-ranking Shi'ite cleric at the Fateme Zahra mosque in the Iranian city of Ahvaz near the Iraqi border, was known for his anti-Saudi and anti-Wahabi preaching and as a staunch defender of policies propagated by the Shi'ite theocratic regime in Teheran. In June 24, 2007, unidentified gunmen shot him dead outside his house. Three days later, as Seimori's family and friends gathered in his mosque to mourn his passing, they found CDs scattered around the building. The CDs contained a stark warning from al-Qaida stating that Iran should stop its support of Iraq's Shi'ites, and that it would otherwise be considered as a legitimate target for Sunni jihadists ... there is no evidence to suggest that Iraq-based Sunni militants perpetrated Seimori's killing. It is also very possible that the CDs were produced by a homegrown activist cell which has deliberately set out to antagonize the Iranian regime. Nevertheless, Teheran cannot entirely dismiss the threat of Sunni jihadists to its national security.

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