Revolutionary Guards attackers backed by Pakistan, claims Iran

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards accused Pakistan’s security forces of supporting the perpetrators of a suicide bombing that killed 27 troops on Wednesday, in remarks state TV aired Saturday hours before their funeral was held.

“Pakistan’s government, who has housed these anti-revolutionaries and threats to Islam, knows where they are and they are supported by Pakistan’s security forces,” said Revolutionary Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, referring to Jaish al-Adl. “If (the Pakistan government) does not punish them, we will retaliate against this anti-revolutionary force, and whatever Pakistan sees will be the consequence of its support for them,” he warned. “Iran reserves the right to confront threats on its borders … based on international law and will retaliate to punish the terrorists,” Jafari was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

His comments came ahead of a planned two-day visit to Pakistan – due to begin on Sunday – by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Iran’s regional arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

Tehran says it will retaliate to punish the ‘terrorists’ if Pakistan fails to move against them

The general made the remarks in Isfahan City during a farewell ceremony held for those killed.

Jafari also blasted ‘the support that the region’s reactionary states Saudi Arabia and the Emiratis’ maintain for ‘conspiracies’ that he said were ordered by Israel and America. “We will certainly follow retaliatory measures,” he added, without elaborating.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has linked the perpetrators of the attack to ‘the spying agencies of some regional and trans-regional countries’.

Isfahan’s major streets were covered with black flags attached to lamp-posts as the city prepared for the funeral and two days of mourning. Vans fixed with loudspeakers cruised streets, inviting people to attend the ceremony. “Honourable people of Isfahan, we invite you to attend the funeral of 27 of your brave sons, the martyrs of the homeland’s security”, the speakers blared.

The troops killed in the bombing belonged to the Guards’ 14th Imam Hussein Division based in Isfahan province, according to Tasnim news agency. Aged from 21 to 52, each will be buried in his hometown after the funeral in Isfahan city. The assault came as the troops were returning from a border patrol mission on a personnel bus near Zahedan. Of the 13 wounded in the attack, two are in the intensive care unit of an Isfahan hospital.

Also warns Saudi Arabia, UAE of ‘retaliation’ for supporting ‘conspiracies’ hatched by
Israel and US

Jaish al-Adl was formed in 2012 as a successor to the Sunni group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), which waged a deadly insurgency for a decade before it was severely weakened by the capture and execution of its leader Abdolmalek Rigi by Tehran in 2010.

The Wednesday bombing targeted a busload of Revolutionary Guards in the volatile southeastern province of Sistan-Balochistan, which straddles the border with Pakistan. The attack was one of the deadliest on Iranian security forces in recent years and came just days after Iran held more than a week of celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, which overthrew the US-backed Shah.

Published in Today’s Muslim, February 17th  2019.