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from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Attack in Iran: What are the links to Pakistan?

A week after suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents attacked the headquarters of the Pakistan Army, a suicide bomber killed six senior Revolutionary Guards commanders and 25 other people in Shi'ite Iran in one of the deadliest attacks in years on the country's most powerful military institution.

Were these two events connected only by the loose network of Sunni insurgent groups based in and around Pakistan? Or are there other common threads that link the two?

Iranian state media said Jundollah, an ethnic Baluch Sunni insurgent group, claimed responsibility for the attack in the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan. The group, led by Abdomalek Rigi, is believed to have bases in neighbouring Pakistan's Baluchistan province.

Jundollah has been linked in some reports to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an anti-Shia sectarian group based in Pakistan's Punjab province, and to the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), based in Pakistan's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Both the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the TTP are believed to have close ties to al Qaeda, and are suspected of involvement in the attack on the headquarters of the Pakistan Army.

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Seven summers ago, in a crowded conference room of a Washington hotel, an Iranian exile leader gave the first detailed public account of Iran's until-then secret nuclear projects at the cities of Natanz and Arak. It greatly turned up the volume of a seemingly endless international controversy over Iran's nuclear intentions.

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Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of much western comment on the unfolding crisis in Iran has been its over-simplification and lack of historical awareness. Perspectives are shaped by a single issue (western concerns about whether Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program) and the desire to draw a simple Manichean distinction between good guys (liberal-democrats) and bad ones (clerical-authoritarians).

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