Thursday, May 8, 2008

Shiraz Mosque Was Shattered by a Bomb: Iran Authorities

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence has blamed the bombing of Martyrs Hossenieh mosque in Shiraz on terrorist groups with ties to US and Britain. A powerful bomb shattered the mosque on 12 April, killing 12 people and injuring more than 200 people.

“The blast was caused by a bombing by a terrorist group with links to Western countries, especially Britain and America,” said Minister of Intelligence Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei [ISNA].

The ministry also announced the arrest of “five to six” armed individuals in connection with the attack. The leader of the group was supposedly trying to leave Iran from a northern border post, presumably Astara.

Iran’s Interior Minister today blamed “monarchists” for the attack. The term is used to describe the followers of the former regime in Iran.

“The Shiraz blast was a terrorist act committed by the so-called loyalists,” said the Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi [Fars News Agency].

The bomb exploded during a sermon by Hojatoleslam Anjavinejad, the executive secretary of Friday Prayers Organization of Fars province. Anjavinejad is a cleric popular with young religious crowds and his sermons typically contain attacks on Wahabis, the fundamentalist Sunni sect. At the time of the blast, Anjavinejad was addressing the youths affiliated with Rahpouyan Vesal-e Shiraz organization.

Immediately after the blast, the Ministry of Intelligence and the local authorities said there were no bombs and the blast was an accident caused by the explosion of ammunition left over in the mosque from a recent military exhibition. Iran analysts discounted the explanation.

Now they are blaming the blast on loyalists with links to US. With no details made public, it is as difficult to accept the new explanation at its face value. What is clear, however, is that a terrorist group has bombed the mosque and has killed and injured innocent people.


Mark Pyruz said...

Carah Ong asks an important question: "Has the war already started?" She refers to the Shiraz bomb blast and the apparent proxy war being waged between the US and Iran.

Nader Uskowi said...

Ong's question is indeed an important one. There are some evidence of US support for Iranian separatist groups, such as PJAK.

Joseph Sixpack said...

Are there any terrorist/insurgent groups active in Iran for whom an attack against a mosque that routinely preaches against Wahhabism would make sense?

I recall an incident near Halabja in 2002 when members of the Wahhabi Ansar al-Islam killed over 40 members of the Kurdish PUK. And this was but one part of a much larger conflict between the two. Ansar al-Islam/Ansar al-Sunna has been the primary culprit in the few terrorist attacks that have occurred in Kurdistan since OIF began.

I have no guesses as to whom the culprit is in the case of the Iranian mosque bombing, but I think Nader's guess of PJAK is probably a good one. As for US involvement, I find this highly unlikely.

I would be shocked if anyone in the USG were willing to undertake the risks associated with starting a proxy war. If discovered - and it inevitably would be - it would not play well in the press. Just look at the uproar over us treating Gitmo detainees like they're vacationing at the Four Seasons. Now imagine if we actually did do something bad. If we sanctioned a proxy war that included terrorist attacks upon civilians, it would be far too damaging. The risk/reward calculus doesn't make sense.

Winston said...

Mullahs are lying again