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Tensions Flare Between Neighbors After Afghan Man Kills Iranian Clerics

The Taliban, a Sunni Muslim militant group, is cautious of Iran, a regional Shiite energy that has beforehand backed the Taliban’s opponents. Iran fears that Afghanistan beneath Taliban rule might once more turn out to be a protected haven for terrorists intent on focusing on Shiites and Iran.

Since final yr, Iran has fastidiously cultivated a coverage that didn’t formally acknowledge the Taliban as a professional authorities however engaged in diplomatic relations, so as to not antagonize it.

“The extra tensions rise between Iran and Afghanistan, the more severe it will get for refugees in Iran as a result of public opinion turns adverse towards them,” mentioned Dawood Qayomi, a former Afghan diplomat who served in Iran.

About 5 million Afghans now dwell in Iran, in accordance with Iranian estimates. Most belong to 2 minority ethnic teams — the Hazara, who’re Shiite Muslim, and Tajik Afghans, who’ve shut cultural ties to Iran. Each have crossed the border for many years amid threats of prosecution by the Taliban and to hunt higher financial alternatives.

The stabbings on April 6 shocked Iranians partly as a result of terrorist assaults are extraordinarily uncommon within the nation and partly as a result of the Imam Reza shrine, one of many holiest websites in Shiite Islam, is taken into account a protected sanctuary.

The assault occurred throughout the first week of the holy month of Ramadan. One of many clerics died on the spot, one other succumbed to accidents a number of days later and the third survived with intensive accidents to his arms and physique, Iranian media reported. The surviving cleric described a chaotic scene the place the attacker stabbed him from behind and chased him when he tried to flee, in accordance with the experiences.

Movies of the assault revealed on Iranian media present the clerics mendacity, bleeding, within the courtyard, folks working to assist them, and a crowd of onlookers capturing the assailant, beating him and screaming at him earlier than handing him over to safety guards.

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