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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran: Sunday's Suicide Attack Killed 15 Members of Revolutionary Guard

By VOA News
20 October 2009

Iranian state media say at least 15 members of the Revolutionary Guard were among 42 people killed in a suicide bombing Sunday in southeastern Iran.

Officials had said earlier the attack in Sistan-Baluchistan province killed six Revolutionary Guard commanders.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will punish those responsible for the attack he blamed on mercenaries of "global arrogance" - a term he uses to describe the United States.

Iranian media quoted Revolutionary Guards chief General Mohammad Ali Jafari as vowing to "retaliate" against U.S. and British intelligence agencies that he says helped the bombers.

Sunni militant group Jundallah claimed responsibility for the blast in an Internet statement released Monday.

Jafari also accused Pakistani intelligence agents of links to Jundallah. The Pakistani, U.S. and British governments condemned the attack and denied any involvement.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the bombing in a statement Monday, calling it a terrorist act and extending his condolences to the victims.

Iranian media say President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari to help hunt down the bombers in a phone call Monday.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said the two neighbors have a "brotherly relationship." But, he also said the presence of what he calls "terrorist elements" in Pakistan is unjustifiable.

General Jafari said Iran is sending a delegation to Pakistan to demand that it hand over Jundallah's leader, Abdelmalek Rigi.

Rigi says his group is fighting discrimination against fellow ethnic Baluchis, who are members of Iran's Sunni minority.

The bomber in Sunday's attack blew himself up at a sports complex in the town of Pisheen where the Revolutionary Guards were preparing to meet Shi'ite and Sunni tribal leaders.

Among those killed were tribal leaders, the Revolutionary Guards' deputy commander General Noor Ali Shooshtari and the Guards' top commander in Sistan-Baluchistan Rajab Ali Mohammad-Zadeh. Funerals were held Monday in the city of Zahedan for some of the dead.

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