[Marxism] Iran blames west for deadly suicide bombing
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Sun Oct 18 19:57:12 MDT 2009
Iran blames west for deadly suicide bombing
Iran vows revenge after blast kills six Revolutionary Guards
commanders and 37 others in Sistan-Baluchistan province
* Robert Tait
* guardian.co.uk, Sunday 18 October 2009 19.35 BST
Iran's Revolutionary Guards today vowed to take revenge after blaming
Britain and the US for a suicide bombing that killed six of its
commanders and 37 others in one of the country's most unstable
The attack, which killed the deputy commander of the guard's ground
forces, General Noor Ali Shooshtari, and Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh, the
provincial commander for Sistan-Baluchistan, inflicted Iran's worst
military casualties in years and raised questions of intelligence and
security failures in a region long blighted by a violent Sunni
A Sunni group, Jundallah ("soldiers of God"), claimed responsibility
and said it was a response to "the constant crime of the regime in
Baluchistan". It named the bomber as Abdol Vahed Mohammadi Saravani.
Iranian media said the attacker had detonated a bomb belt as
Revolutionary Guard commanders arrived for a meeting with tribal
elders in a sports hall in Pishin, near Iran's frontier with Pakistan.
It was the latest in a series of gatherings meant to foster unity in
Sistan-Baluchistan, Iran's poorest province, after a spate of attacks.
Those caught in the explosion had to be taken to hospitals more than
150 miles away because Pishin lacked proper medical facilities. Some
are understood to have died en route.
The Revolutionary Guards condemned the bombing as the work of
"terrorists" supported by "the great Satan America and its ally
Britain", and promised to respond.
"Not in the distant future we will take revenge … and Baluchis will
clear this region from terrorists and criminals," read a statement
released to the semi-official Fars news agency.
The statement echoed another call for revenge by the Iranian
president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former guard. "The criminals will
soon get the response for their anti-human crimes," the official news
agency IRNA quoted him as saying.
State television cited an "informed source" as saying that Britain was
to blame "by organising, supplying equipment and employing
A US state department spokesman, Ian Kelly, dismissed allegations of
American involvement as "completely false", adding: "We condemn this
act of terrorism and mourn the loss of innocent lives."
Over the last five years it has become a standard Iranian position
that the US-British alliance is a source of unrest in
Sistan-Baluchistan and other provinces. Officials point to the
presence of Nato forces in neighbouring Afghanistan as a launchpad for
While Iran has blamed Britain and the US for previous attacks on its
territory, the latest allegation came as negotiations were due to
resume in Vienna over its nuclear programme, which western governments
fear may be designed to build an atomic bomb.
Iranian officials have previously linked Jundallah with al-Qaida,
although other sources have suggested the group may have connections
with the Pakistani Taliban. In Tehran, the Iranian foreign minister
summoned the Pakistani charge d'affaires to complain.
The attack appeared to be a direct challenge to the Revolutionary
Guards, who took over direct responsibility for Sistan-Baluchistan's
security last April. The guards have taken an increasingly prominent
role in Iranian affairs in recent times under the auspices of the
supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Jundallah has taken up arms on behalf of Sistan-Baluchistan's Sunni
Baluch population, which it says suffers discrimination at the hands
of Iran's Shia rulers. Commanded by Abdolmalek Rigi, the group claims
to have killed more than 400 Iranian troops during its insurgency.
It claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 25 people
at a Shia mosque in Zahedan, Sistan-Baluchistan's provincial capital,
last May. The authorities responded by hanging 13 group members they
said had been involved.
Sistan-Baluchistan lies on a major drug transit route from
Afghanistan. Nearly 4,000 Iranian security officers are believed to
have been killed in clashes with smugglers since 1979.
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