The Secretary of State announced the designation of Jundallah, a violent Salafi extremist organization operating out of Eastern Iran, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on Wednesday. FTO status criminalizes "material support" and "expert advice" to the organization, allows representatives of the organization to be barred or removed from the United States, and requires banks to freeze funds and assets of the group.
Jundallah, which began as a nationalist organization supporting the insurgency of the Balochi ethnicity against Iran, also claims to support the rights of Sunni Muslims in the Shiite-dominated country. Also called the People's Resistance Movement of Iran (PRMI), Jundallah is known to support the same violent Salafi ideology as al-Qaida and Al-Shabaab, and is reported to have connections with these organizations. Its numerous terrorist attacks have targeted Iranian civilians and government officials primarily in the Iranian territory of Sistan and Baluchistan. However, the Iranian government has linked the group to attacks around the country and has captured and executed the organization's founder and leader, Abdolmalek Rigi.
The Secretary of State's designation also sends a strong statement against accusations of U.S. funding of Jundallah. These charges have consistently been leveled at the U.S. and Britain by Iran, which accuses the West of attempting to fragment the patchwork of ethnic and religious identities found in Iranian territory. Western news agencies like ABC News, the London Telegraph, and PBS have also echoed the accusations.
The Iranian reaction to America's designation has been muted. Iran's government media agency, Press TV, did not report about it.