Iran's Top Revolutionary Guard Officer Blames The U.S. For Twin Mosque Bombings In Zahedan Killing 27 And Injuring More Than 150

Israel and the United States were behind the twin suicide bombings on a mosque in Iran that left 27 people dead, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer told the semi-official Fars news agency on Friday.

Two bombs went off in the suicide attack at the mosque in Zahedan Thursday night. Authorities said an additional 167 people were injured and warned the death toll could rise.

The radical Sunni group, Jundollah, meaning Soldiers of God, claimed responsibility for the bombings, calling it retaliation for the execution last month of its leader, Abdolmalik Rigi.

The chief of the Revolutionary Guards’ Political Bureau Yadollah Javani to Fars that that confessions extracted by Rigi prior to execution last month showed the rebel group had received U.S. support for its fight against the regime in Tehran.

“Rigi’s confessions prove that the United States, Zionists and some European countries are directly linked with the Zahedan blasts, because he had confessed that the U.S. wants bomb attacks to be carried out across Iran,” Javani told Fars.

Video from inside Mosque at time of explosion… http://www.mefeedia.com/news/32008668

According to the Revolutionary Guards top officer, Iran’s enemies sought to divide “Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims in order to create chaos in the country,” adding that “one could not doubt the involvement of secret foreign services in the efforts to generate tension amongst Muslims.”

Javani’s claims came as Hezbollah condemned Friday the twin suicide bombings, saying they extended their “deepest condolences to the leader of the Islamic revolution and to the government and people of the Islamic republic as well as to the relatives of the victims.”

The statement also echoed Iranian claims that foreign intelligence services were behind the attack.

Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama also released a statement condemning the attack, saying it was an “outrageous terrorist attack.”

In the statement, Obama said the deaths of innocent civilians in their place of worship was an “intolerable offense” and said those who carried out the attack must be held accountable. Obama said the U.S. stands with the families of those killed and with the Iranian people.

The blast was the latest by the group Jundallah, which has repeatedly succeeded in carrying out deadly strikes on the Guard, the country’s most powerful military force.

Shi’ite worshippers were attending ceremonies on Thursday marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein, when the first blast went off outside the mosque in the provincial capital Zahedan.

According to authorities, the first blast caused minimal damage, but it prompted people to rush to the site where they were caught by a second explosion.

 

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Tehran blames US, UK for deadly Iran mosque bombing

Video from inside Mosque at time of explosion… http://www.mefeedia.com/news/32008668

Sunni militant group Jundallah claimed responsibility for the Iran mosque bombing that killed at least 27 people Thursday. Tehran blames the US and UK for a hand in the deadly suicide attacks.

An Iran mosque twin suicide bombing killed at least 27 people Thursday. It is in an event that is expected to intensify tensions between Tehran and Washington, as Iran alleges that the United States, Britain, and other external powers trained and funded the attackers.

Sunni militant group Jundallah claimed responsibility for the attacks in southeastern Iran on the Shiite mosque. Iranian authorities are investigating the explosions, which also killed members of the elite Revolutionary Guard.

According to the Financial Times, Thursday’s attacks were Jundallah’s attempt to seek revenge for the hanging of Abdolmalik Rigi, the militant group’s former leader, in June.

 In an e-mail to Dubai-based Al Arabiya television station, the group claimed that the bombings were targeting members of the Revolutionary Guard present at the mosque in Zahedan (see map).

The back-to-back suicide bombings injured about 270 people, reports the Los Angeles Times:

According to Iranian news agencies, the first suicide bomber, possibly dressed as a woman, tried unsuccessfully to enter the mosque before blowing himself up, killing and injuring several. A second suicide bomber blew himself up 15 minutes later amid a crowd of bystanders and rescue workers attending to the first victims, killing and wounding many more.

A Zahedan-based journalist, Adel Mazari, said 150 of the 270 wounded were severely injured and remained hospitalized. The statement by Jundallah named the suicide bombers as Mohammad Rigi and Abdolbasset Rigi, both members of the late leader’s tribe.

Although Jundallah claimed responsibility for the bombings, The New York Times reports that the Iranian authorities have instead blamed Al Qaeda and CIA-backed militants:

The authorities in Tehran said the insurgents, operating in an area close to the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, are linked to Al Qaeda. But that claim has not been independently corroborated….

Press TV said [Rigi] had “confessed” that the United States had “assured him of unlimited military aid and funding for waging an insurgency against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

But, the broadcaster said, the Jundallah group had been disbanded and was unlikely to have carried out Thursday’s attacks. It blamed hardline Sunni Muslim activists “trained by the CIA.”

According to the Associated Press, the Revolutionary Guard is holding additional external powers responsible for Thursday’s bombings:

Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guard, told worshippers during Tehran Friday prayers that the victims “were martyred by hands of mercenaries of the US and UK.”

He was echoed by influential lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi who said “America should be answerable for the terrorist incident in Zahedan.”

But Washington was quick to disavow the accusations. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a statement issued July 15, said she condemned the attack and extended her sympathy to the families of the victims. She continued:

The United States condemns all forms of terrorism and sectarian-driven violence, wherever it occurs, and stands with the victims of these appalling acts. This attack, along with the recent attacks in Uganda, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Algeria, underscores the global community’s need to work together to combat terrorist organizations that threaten the lives of innocent civilians all around the world.

Iran has long claimed that Western governments, including the US, support ethnic opposition and militant groups in Sunni-majority Sistan-Balochistan Province in an attempt to undermine the government in Tehran, reported The Christian Science Monitor:

Rigi’s capture is a coup for authorities in Tehran, who have accused the US and the West of backing rebellious minority factions such as Rigi’s Jundallah – which has called for greater rights for Sunni ethnic Baluchis in majority Shiite Iran – the Kurdish PJAK operating from Iraq in northwest Iran, and Arabs in the south.

Such groups and alleged US, British, and other intelligence and military support for them have been the subject of speculation for years, as Washington spoke openly about conducting “regime change” in Iran during the administration of President George W. Bush.

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