Suicide attack hits Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Iran's state-sponsored Fars news agency report at least twenty killed, including senior members of the Revolutionary Guard, and another forty wounded, by a suicide bombing in Pishin, a city in the country's south-eastern Sistan-Baluchistan province.

The emblem of Iran's Revolutionary Guards

According to the agency, terrorists killed both local tribal heads and senior army officers. "In this terrorist act, General Nur-Ali Shushtari, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards land army, General Mohammad-Zadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Sistan-Baluchestan province, the Guards' commander for the town of Iranshahr and the commander of the Amir al-Momenin unit died." According to IRNA, the state news agency, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh, the Guard's chief provincial commander, is among those killed.

The commanders were meeting with tribal leaders of Sunni and Shiite communities in the region.

This is the biggest attack against the Revolutionary Guards in recent years. Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani condemned it live on state radio, and the announcement to parliament was broadcast on television; "[w]e express our condolences for their martyrdom. The intention of the terrorists was definitely to disrupt security in Sistan-Baluchistan Province."

A Revolutionary Guard statement on TV claimed "foreign involvement"; "[s]urely foreign elements, particularly those linked to the global arrogance, were involved in this attack."

The region is predominantly made up of the Sunni Baluchi ethnic group. Some are strongly opposed to the mainly Shiite Iranian government and Shia rule.

In the past, Iran has accused the Jundallah (Soldiers of God) of carrying out terrorist activities in the province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although, no clearly identified group claims responsibility for such.