Suicide attacks might serve as pretext for more severe repression of opposition

2009/10/19

Published in weekly newspaper “Die ZEIT” on October 19, 2009
http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2009-10/iran-anschlag-vergeltung
Original title: “Guards threaten USA and UK with retaliation”

Quickly, Iran identified the US and Great Britain to have pulled the strings of the attack on the Revolutionary Guards. Now, the head of the paramilitaries threatens with retaliation

ZEIT_091019
Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (left), apart from Pakistan also holds USA and Great Britain responsible for the terroristic attack in the Iranian province of Sistan and Balouchestan.

As head of the Guards Mohammad Ali Jafari told the news agency ISNA on Monday: “The American and British intelligence apparatuses are behind this incident. There will have to be retaliatory measures to punish them.” He claimed that the Iranian Intelligence has presented documents proving direct connections of Jundollah to the Intelligences of USA, Great Britain and Pakistan. As he said, the leader of the extremist group, Abdolmalek Rigi, is “undoubtedly protected by those organizations”

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had previously blamed Pakistan to be also responsible for last Sunday’s attacks. The government in Islamabad denied this. According to Iranian media outlets, the radical Sunni group Jundollah has claimed responsibility for the attack. The number of casualties after the attack meanwhile rose to 42.

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards ground forces, Mohammad Pakpour, had said that the “terrorists and rebels” had been trained by the USA and Great Britain. An announcement of the Revolutionary Guards was quoted on state TV, that a “crushing response” will be given to the attack. MP Peyman Forouzesh told ISNA that the counter attack could possibly take place on Pakistan’s territory.

Forouzesh represents the Iranian province Sistan-Balouchestan where the attack had taken place. Official media reported 42 were killed during the attack, among them several commanders. The Jundollah Group (“soldiers of God”) is held responsible for a series of attacks in the predominantly Shiite Iran, such as the bombing of a mosque in May that killed 25. Jundollah claims to fight for the rights of the Sunni minority. Iran accused Pakistan of accepting members of Jundollah in the past.

The Revolutionary Guards are a parallel army which is particularly loyal to the Islamic system. Their influence has further increased during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Guards had a key role in the repression of the street protests following the disputed presidential election in June. Experts believe that the Guards might use the attacks as a pretext to even harsher confront the opposition. The Vienna talks about Iran’s nuclear program might as well be affected by the attacks. They are scheduled to begin this Monday afternoon.

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