Iranian officials are blaming the U.S. and Britain:
Iran’s military suffered a heavy blow today when a suicide bomber killed at least 29 people in the country’s volatile south-east, including several Revolutionary Guard commanders.
The victims included the guards’ deputy commander, General Noor Ali Shooshtari, thought to be the most senior member killed in recent years.
Local media said at least 28 had been wounded in the bombing at a conference hall in Sarbaz in Sistan-Baluchistan, Iran’s poorest province, as Revolutionary Guard commanders met local tribal elders.
Conflicting reports said an undetermined number of commanders had died. Initial accounts put the number at six, but Hosein Ali Shahriari, MP for Zahedan, the provincial capital, told the semi-official news agency ILNA, that at least 20 commanders had died.
Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh, chief commander of Sistan-Baluchistan province, was also killed.It was Iran’s highest military death toll since the end of the 1980-1988 Iraq war, the conservative website Tabnak said.
Officials immediately blamed Britain and the US as rescue workers sifted through wreckage searching for survivors. “Surely foreign elements, particularly those linked to the global arrogance [regime code for America and Britain], were involved in this attack,” a guards statement read out on state TV said.
The New York Times provides additional coverage including details referencing two separate but coordinated attacks:
At least five commanders of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were killed and dozens of others left dead and injured in two terrorist bombings in the restive region of the nation’s southeastern frontier with Pakistan, according to multiple Iranian state news agencies.
The coordinated attacks appeared to mark an escalation in hostilities between Iran’s leadership and one of the nation’s many disgruntled ethnic and religious minorities, in this case the Baluchis. The southeast region, Sistan-Baluchistan, has been the scene of terrorist attacks in the past, and in April the government put the elite Guards Corps in control of security there to try to stop the escalating violence.
Iranian officials have accused foreign enemies of supporting the terrorist insurgents and repeated that charge Sunday. By midday, official news reports from Iran said that 31 people were killed and at least 28 injured.
“There is no doubt that this violent and inhumane act was part of the strategy of foreigners and enemies of the regime and the revolution to destroy unity between Shias and Sunnis and create divisions among the unified ranks of the great Iranian people,” said a statement issued by the Revolutionary Guards through the official IRNA news service.
In a brief statement on Sunday, the United States condemned the suicide bombing and denied it had anything to do with it. “We condemn this act of terrorism and mourn the loss of innocent lives. Reports of alleged U.S. involvement are completely false,” said Ian Kelly, U.S. State Department spokesman, according to Reuters.
President Obama could not be reached for comment apparently as he was busy launching his own attacks on American Industry.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee did not return our phone calls.