New Iran-Saudi front opens with Ahwaz attacking Iranian pipelines

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The attack on two pipelines in the Iranian province of Khuzestan, responsibility for which was claimed by the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (Harakat Al Nezal Al Ahwazi) places the Arab separatist group centre-stage again. The organisation consists of separatist rebels in the Iranian region, mostly Arab and Sunni. Close to the Muslim Brotherhood and Kuwaiti Salafist groups, Harakat Al Nezal Al Ahwazi is heavily supported by Saudi Arabia, which uses it as a proxy to destabilise its Shi’ite neighbor. Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) similarly supports the People’s Resistance Movement of Iran (PRMI) or Soldiers of God, Jundallah, in the eastern Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan. The Ahwaz separatist movement met with Saudi officials in Tunis in December and announced it was back in operation.
The Iranian authorities, which are concerned that the zone is becoming increasingly risky at a time when it is trying to attract foreign investment, have claimed the attacks were made up. Khuzestan contains the Yadavaran field, operated by the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) and China’s Sinopec.