A Zahedan Member of Parliament has urged Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to expand its activities in Sistan-Baluchistan to assist the government in tackling the problems of impoverished regions of the country. Meanwhile, Baluch activists say the IRGC is taking advantage of regional poverty to the detriment of the people.

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Zahedan MP Nasser Kashani told the Mehr News Agency that recruiting from the local population has had a positive effect on increasing security in the province.

Kashani said the IRGC is getting involved in projects that are not necessarily part of its mandate, adding that such efforts are helping to reduce the province’s disadvantages, and he urged the government to collaborate with the IRGC to speed the effects of these initiatives.

Meanwhile, a number of Baluch activists say the presence of the IRGC is creating tensions in the region. The Baluch Activists Campaign published a report last year stressing that the IRGC takes advantage of the Baluchi people’s poverty, claiming that the Guards Corps recruits locals and sends them to Syria.

Last month, Iranian media reported that seven soldiers from Sistan-Baluchistan were killed in Syria.

In recent reports, the IRGC commander in Sistan-Baluchistan announced the recruitment and training of 2,000 fugitive soldiers by the IRGC to assist with security missions in the province.

SIsitan-Baluchistan has been plagued by widespread violence in recent years especially along its borders with Pakistan.