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After seven years, Iran's Khamenei rakes up Kashmir again

27 Jun 2017 | By Gogona Saikia
Iran rakes up Kashmir after seven years

In a surprising development, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei asked Muslims around the world to support people of Kashmir and other places against "oppressors" who attacked people in Ramzan.

He compared the situation in Kashmir to that of the "oppressed nations" of Yemen and Bahrain.

The last time Khamenei raked up the Kashmir issue was seven years earlier. India had then lodged a protest.

In context: Iran rakes up Kashmir after seven years

27 Jun 2017After seven years, Iran's Khamenei rakes up Kashmir again

Eid address'Stand against oppressors who have attacked people in Ramadan'

Khamenei's official website carried a transcription of his Eid address. He said Islamic nations are covered in "wounds", and that Muslims should raise their voices in support of their brothers.

"Our people can back this great movement within the World of Islam," he said.

In both Yemen and Bahrain, Iran is accused of backing the Houthis and Shia activists against the governments.

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Seven years earlier, a diplomatic blame-game

2010Seven years earlier, a diplomatic blame-game

In September 2010, the Iranian Foreign Ministry criticized the Indian government for firing on Kashmiri activists protesting the burning of a Quran in US. Later in November, Khamenei compared Kashmir to Gaza and Afghanistan, calling for support for the "struggle".

India had then summoned the Iranian ambassador to lodge a protest.

Two years later, the then PM Manmohan Singh met Khamenei on relatively friendly-terms.

But things are different this time

The difference this time is that "we are in a post-deal environment where India is working very hard (with Iran) to bring strategic projects like Chabahar to fruition, despite the US president's moves to undermine the nuclear deal", says foreign affairs specialist Sumitha N. Kutty.

AnalysisSo what could this mean?

The timing is significant: it came on the day PM Narendra Modi was scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump, who views the Hassan Rouhani government as "opposed to US interests".

There's also speculation about concerns in Tehran about India's growing friendship with Saudi Arabia.

Raking up the issue could simply be an attempt to draw international and Islamic attention to the Kashmir situation.