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Iran Geopolitical Watch – from November 5 to November 11, 2022

Iran / Pakistan / Afghanistan geopolitical watch team: Daniel Marco, Jérémie Patot.

 

11/07/2022 – Iran arrests 26 foreigners it holds responsible for the Shiraz mosque attack. -Daniel Marco-

On November 7th, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said 26 people, all foreigners, had been arrested in connection with the October 26 attack on a Shiite pilgrimage site in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, which was claimed by the militant group Islamic State (IS), RFE/RL noted

According to Al Arabiya, a statement was issued on the ministry’s Web site saying, “The Intelligence Ministry has identified and apprehended all the agents involved in the terrorist operation in Shiraz”. The 26 “takfiri terrorists”, according to the statement, are from Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. IRNA informs that an Azerbaijani national who flew from Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport and landed at Imam Khomeini Airport near Tehran is the main element and coordinator of the terrorist operation. In the IRNA article, it is mentioned that the individual identified himself as a coordinator who was in contact with Daesh members in Afghanistan. In addition, Abu Basir, an Afghan planner, and Abu Ayesha, a terrorist from Tajikistan who carried out the attack, were both in Shiraz. 

Iran International recalls that the Shah Cheragh attack was claimed by the Islamic Republic, although several people have questioned the Islamic Republic’s version, claiming that it was orchestrated by the state itself to divert attention from widespread protests.

 

11/08/2022: Evidence suggests journalist, Arshad Sharif, killed in Kenya was targeted, Pakistan says. -Jeremie Patot-

Pakistan’s interior minister said on Tuesday evidence suggested Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif was the victim of a targeted killing in Kenya, not an accidental shooting, though he still needed more information about the incident, reports Reuters.

According to The Guardian, Kenyan police spokesman Bruno Shioso refused on Tuesday to respond to Rana Sanaullah’s comments about the death of the television journalist, shot dead on the evening of October 23 on the outskirts of Nairobi. At the end of October, the Kenyan police declared a case of “mistaken identity” during a search for a similar car involved in a case of child abduction, informs RFE.

RFE also recalls that Sharif was a vocal critic of the Pakistani military establishment; he was living in Kenya after leaving his home country to avoid arrest for sedition. He was also known as a supporter of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary vote of no confidence in April and who was the victim of a gun attack last week during a political rally.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) accused the Kenyan authorities on November 8 of wasting time investigating the shooting and demanded an independent UN investigation into the journalist’s assassination.

 

11/10/2022: Iran claims to have created a supersonic ballistic missile. -Daniel Marco-

On November 10th, Iran developed a hypersonic ballistic missile, according to the statements of the Commander of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the semi-official Tasnim News Agency reported.

“This missile has a high speed and can manoeuvre in and out of the atmosphere. It targets the enemy’s advanced anti-missile systems and is a great generation leap in the field of missiles,” as announced by the commander.  According to France24, because of their high speed and manoeuvrability, hypersonic missiles present difficulties for radar designers. Reuters points out that although Iran has developed its domestic arms industry in response to international restrictions and embargoes, there are no reports of the Islamic Republic testing such a missile, and Western military analysts say Iran sometimes exaggerates the capabilities of its arsenal.

However, Anadolu Agency notes that experts predict that Western concerns will increase due to Iran’s development of this type of ballistic missile.

 

11/10/2022: Iran has accepted a visit from the IAEA. -Jeremie Patot-

Tehran has agreed to a visit by the UN nuclear watchdog later this month. This visit will aim to begin giving answers to the agency on the origin of the uranium particles found at three sites, informs Reuters.

For some diplomats, this invitation from Iran would compromise the resolution of the IAEA board which should pressure Tehran for more cooperation. Because this offer of a visit to Iran is announced just before the quarterly meeting next week. Reuters recalls that such a resolution had already been adopted in June of this year.

At the same time, after the announcement of the construction of a hypersonic ballistic missile by the Revolutionary Guards, the Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi shared to AFP his concerns about what this represents for the nuclear program of the country.

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