Iranian police chief killed in armed attack in restive southeastern province

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An Iranian police chief was assassinated on Sunday by unknown gunmen in Iran’s restive southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, state media reported.

The attackers opened fire on Major Alireza Shahraki’s car at around 7:10 a.m. local time, killing him instantly. His wife, who was with him in the car, later died in the hospital due to injuries sustained in the attack.

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No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sistan-Baluchistan’s police chief, Doost-Ali Jalilian, said investigations were underway to identify and arrest the attackers.

Jalilian described the attackers using a term that Iranian authorities typically use to refer to opponents of the Islamic Republic, suggesting that the motive behind the attack may have been political in nature.

Sistan-Baluchistan, which is mostly populated by Sunni ethnic Baluchis, a minority in predominantly Shia Iran, has in the past seen clashes between Iranian security forces and armed drug smugglers and Sunni militants.

Baluchi activists have long complained of ethnic and religious discrimination and accuse the regime of deliberately neglecting their region. According to official figures, Sistan-Baluchistan is Iran’s poorest province.

In recent months, Sistan-Baluchistan has also been one of the main hubs of anti-regime protests that were sparked by the death in police custody of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini last September.

Amini, 22, died on September 16 shortly after being arrested by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress rules for women. Her death triggered months of nationwide protests that eventually subsided due to a deadly crackdown by authorities.

According to the human rights groups, hundreds were killed by security forces during the protests, with Sistan-Baluchistan having the highest number of fatalities.

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Gunmen kill two policemen in Iran’s southeast: State media

Two police officers killed in armed attack in Iran’s southeast: State media

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