London- An Arab separatist group claimed two pipeline bombings in Iran’s oil-rich south and threatened to launch more attacks in the coming year.
Iranian state media and officials did not immediately comment on the claim by the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, which said it bombed the pipelines early Tuesday morning in Khuzestan province.
The Movement claimed an armed wing carried out two simultaneous dawn-time raids on the pipelines early Tuesday, and released a video allegedly showing the attack.
Fighters from the Brigades of the Martyrs al-Nasser Mohiuddin used explosives to destroy pipelines close to the town of Omidiyeh and in Deylam, both in the Ahwaz-speaking region of Iran known by authorities as Khuzestan.
The Movement’s statement said the bombings came in response to Iran’s Oil Ministry publishing a list of 29 international companies qualified to bid for projects following the atomic accord.
The group said 2017 will be “very different to previous years since the movement has prepared detailed and precise plans to carry out a number of high-quality important operations against the Iranian enemy state.”
A statement from the field commander of the Mohiuddin Brigades said that “the operations are part of an overall strategy to target economically sensitive sites including oil and gas installations.”
The group said the first pipeline targeted belonged to the state-owned Aghajari oil company, which pumps out 440,000 of barrels of crude oil a day from the Maroun oilfield.
Mohiuddin Brigades’ second operation caused the “complete destruction” of pipelines from the Baharkan oilfield, where 60,000 barrels of crude are transported each day, according to the group.
Oil and gas revenues from the two fields are used to “fund the Iranian regime’s brutal oppression of the Ahwazi people and other Arab peoples regionally,” Mohiuddin Brigades said.
Coordinated pipeline attacks could hinder Iran’s efforts to recoup cash lost under international sanctions.
Notably, Iran’s Ahwazi Arabs are seeking an independent homeland and have complained of discrimination by authorities.