Iranian officials claimed Monday that they had evidence of American and British involvement in the country’s worst suicide bombing attacks in years, raising tensions as Iran meets with Western nations for another round of delicate talks on its nuclear program.
At least five commanders of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were killed and dozens of other people were left dead and wounded on Sunday in two bombings in the restive southeast along Iran’s frontier with Pakistan, according to Iranian state news agencies.
The coordinated strike, one of the largest against the Guards in the region, appeared to mark an escalation in hostilities between Iran’s leadership and the Baluchi ethnic minority. Iranian officials accused foreign enemies of supporting the insurgents, singling out the intelligence agencies of United States, Britain and Pakistan. [continued…]
Iran’s president has accused Pakistani agents of involvement in a suicide bombing in south-east of the country targeting a group of the elite Revolutionary Guards force.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on Pakistan to arrest the attackers, who he said had entered Iran from Pakistan. [continued…]
Sunni insurgency in Sistan-Baluchistan has presented Tehran with one of its most vexing domestic security problems. The region, which is located in Iran’s southeast corner, borders Afghanistan and Pakistan and is one of the largest and poorest of Iran’s 30 provinces.
Sistan-Baluchistan is home to a large concentration of Sunni Muslims. Ethnic Baluchi tribes are prevalent in the region, which straddles all three countries. The province’s border areas are considered key smuggling routes for products including opium.
Increasingly, Tehran has grown worried about the influence of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan on criminal and militant groups operating on the Iranian side of the border. [continued…]