Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in Tehran today that the government will punish the terrorists behind the suicide bombing that killed six IRGS commanders, including senior general officers, and nearly 40 others in southeastern Iran on Sunday.
Khamenei also said that Iran’s “enemies can’t harm the unity” among Iranians. A militant Sunni group operating in Iran-Pakistan border area of Baluchistan has taken responsibility for the attack. The group, Jundallah, along with another Sunni militant group operating in Kurdistan, PJAK, have waged armed campaign against the IRGC for the past three years. Sunnis are minority in Shia-run Iran, but constitute the majorities of the population in underdeveloped provinces of Sistan-Baluchistan and Kurdistan.
The victims of the bombing included two employees of the state-run broadcasting service, IRIB, and number of tribal chiefs who were due to hold a meeting with the Guard commanders to promote Shia-Sunni unity.
Meanwhile, IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Ali Jafari told reporters today in Tehran that Iran would “retaliate” against the US and Britain for backing the perpetrators of the attack. Gen. Jafari said that the security officials had presented documents indicating direct ties between Jundallah and US, British and Pakistani intelligence.
“Behind this scene are the American and British intelligence apparatus, and there will have to be retaliatory measures to punish them,” Jafari said [ISNA, 19 October].
“The base of the terrorists and rebels has not been in Iran. They are trained by America and Britain in some of the neighboring countries,” added IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Pakpour, whose deputy, Gen. Shushtari, was killed in the attack.