Iran Blames ‘Satanic’ U.S. For Suicide Attack That Kills Over 30, Vows Revenge


iran1The Iranian armed forces have accused the United States and Britain of involvement in a suicide bombing that targeted the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard today, and warned of revenge. The headquarters of the armed forces blamed the bombing on “terrorists” backed by “the Great Satan America and its ally Britain”.”Not in the distant future we (Iran) will take revenge … and Baluchis will clear this region from terrorists and criminals,” Fars quoted a statement as saying, referring to the inhabitants of Sistan-Baluchestan province, where the attack took place.

Both the U.S. and Britain condemned the attack today and denied any involvement.

“We condemn this act of terrorism and mourn the loss of innocent lives. Reports of alleged US involvement are completely false,” said State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier in the day vowed to strike back at the “criminals” behind the suicide bombing.

“The criminals will soon get the response for their anti-human crimes,” IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. The Iranian leader also accused unspecified foreigners of involvement.

At least 35 people were killed in the attack including five senior commanders of the Guard, the country’s official news agency reported.

Earlier today, a Sunni rebel group claimed responsibility for the attack, Iranian state television said.

“Rigi’s terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack,” it said, referring to Abdolmalek Rigi, leader of Jundollah (God’s soldiers).

The group, which has waged a low-level insurgency in recent years, accuses Iran’s mostly Shi’ite government of persecution and has carried out attacks against the Revolutionary Guard and Shi’ite targets in southeastern Iran.

Meanwhile, Iranian state television cited informed sources as saying Britain was directly involved in the suicide attack.

The Guards had earlier blamed “foreign elements” linked to the United States for the attack in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

The attack and the allegations of foreign involvement are likely to raise tension between Iran and the West, a day before nuclear talks in Vienna including Iranian, U.S., French and Russian officials.

“Some informed sources said the British government was directly involved in the terrorist attack … by organizing, supplying equipment and employing professional terrorists,” Iranian state television said.

The television report said analysts believed the aim of the attack was to “re-direct” parts of the West’s problems in Afghanistan across the border to Iran.

A Foreign Office spokesman in London declined to comment directly on the Iranian comments and instead issued a statement, saying: “The British government condemns the terrorist attack in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan in Iran and the sad loss of life which it caused.

“Terrorism is abhorrent wherever it occurs. Our sympathies go to those who have been killed in the attack and to their families,” it said.

The IRNA news agency said the dead included the deputy commander of the Guard’s ground force, Gen. Noor Ali Shooshtari, as well as a chief provincial Guard commander for the area, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh. The other dead were Guard members or local tribal leaders. Dozens of others were wounded, the report said.

The commanders were inside a car on their way to a meeting in the Pishin region near Iran’s border with Pakistan when an attacker with explosives blew himself up, IRNA said.

Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, also condemned the assassination of the Guard commanders, saying the bombing was aimed at disrupting security in southeastern Iran.

“We express our condolences for their martyrdom. … The intention of the terrorists was definitely to disrupt security in Sistan-Baluchistan Province,” Larijani told an open session of the parliament broadcast live on state radio.

In May, Jundallah took credit for a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque that killed 25 people in Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province, which has witnessed some of Jundallah’s worst attacks. Thirteen members of the faction were convicted in the attack and hanged in July.

Jundallah, comprised of Sunnis from the Baluchi ethnic minority, has carried out bombings, kidnappings and other attacks against Iranian soldiers and other forces in recent years, including a car bombing in February 2007 that killed 11 members of the Revolutionary Guard near Zahedan.

Jundallah also claimed responsibility for the December 2006 kidnapping of seven Iranian soldiers in the Zahedan area. It threatened to kill them unless members of the group in Iranian prisons were released. The seven were released a month later, apparently after negotiations through tribal mediators.

The Revolutionary Guard was created after the 1979 Islamic Revolution as an ideological bulwark to defend Iran’s clerical rule. The 120,000-strong elite force controls Iran’s missile program and has its own ground, naval and air units.

{Haaretz/Yair Israel}


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