Iran steps up blame of US, Britain, and Pakistan for bombings

Iran says all three countries have links to a Sunni group blamed for Sunday's suicide blast that killed at least five senior members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

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Iran stepped up accusations on Monday against the US, Britain, and Pakistan, saying all three countries have links to a Sunni group blamed for Sunday's suicide blast that killed more than 40, including at least five senior members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

Tehran said it would demand that Pakistan hand over the attack's suspected mastermind. It said the country's intelligence agency, along with those of the US and Britain had a hand in planning and directing the attack.

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The accusations are likely to ratchet up tensions between Iran and the West, which are already high over Iran's nuclear program.

The US, Britain, and Pakistan have all denied any involvement in Sunday's attack.

A Sunni rebel group, Jundallah, claimed responsibility for the attack in Pasheen, in southeast Iran near the border with Pakistan. The group has long waged an anti-government insurgency in the Sistan and Baluchistan region, claiming Tehran discriminates against the area's Baloch ethnic minority. (See map here.)

Iran said Monday that Pakistan was harboring the planners of Sunday's attack, and that it would demand that the leader of Jundullah be arrested and sent to Iran. "The head of [Iran's Revolutionary Guards], General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said a delegation would head to Pakistan to deliver 'proof' that Islamabad is supporting Sunni militant leader Abdolmalek Rigi, whose Jundallah [Soldiers of God] group has for years being waging war against the Shiite rule of Iran," reports Agence France-Presse.

The speaker of Iran's parliament also accused the US of being behind the attack, reports CNN.

"We consider this recent terrorist act to be the result of the US actions and this is a sign of their enmity," said parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
A US State Department spokesman said the accusation was "completely false."
"We condemn this act of terrorism and mourn the loss of innocent lives. Reports of alleged US involvement are completely false," Ian Kelly told CNN.

Britain also denied Iran's allegations. Pakistan's foreign ministry denied Monday that Rigi was even in Pakistan, according to the BBC.

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