Iran Update, March 28, 2023Mar 28, 2023 - Press ISW
IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour claimed foreign-backed threats are the source of unrest in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, possibly to set conditions to degrade Prominent Sunni Cleric Moulana Abdol Hamid’s anti-regime following in Zahedan. Pakpour claimed that foreign-backed “evildoers and enemies” were responsible for unrest in the province and threatened to deal “severely” with these actors in a speech to local clan leaders, scholars, and critics in Sistan and Baluchistan Province on March 28. The regime has both recently and historically blamed foreign actors to justify violently cracking down on domestic unrest. CTP has not observed any significant increase in violence in Zahedan that would warrant a regime security response. This suggests Pakpour’s statement referenced anti-regime protests inspired by Abdol Hamid, who has continuously criticized the regime during his Friday prayer sermons and generated significant in Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan Province throughout the past several months.