Iran blames West for suicide bombings
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Last Updated: Saturday, July 17, 2010, 12:25
  
Tehran: Iran blamed the West on Saturday for twin suicide bombings which killed at least 27 people, despite condemnation of the attack by the European Union, the United Nations and the United States.

"This blind terrorist act was carried out by the mercenaries of the world arrogance (the Western powers)," state television's website quoted Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi as saying.

"The agents of this crime were trained and equipped beyond our borders and then came into Iran," Abdollahi said. "Those who planned this crime and equipped those who carried it out should know that they are responsible for this incident," he added.

Sunni militant group Jundallah claimed it carried out Thursday's bombings which targeted members of the elite Revolutionary Guards at a mosque in the restive southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

Tehran has long charged that Washington has provided support to the group as part of efforts to destabilise the Islamic regime by fomenting unrest among ethnic minorities in sensitive border areas.

But on Friday US President Barack Obama condemned the "outrageous terrorist attacks," while UN chief Ban Ki-moon blasted a "senseless act of terrorism" and European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton condemned "these cowardly terrorist attacks."

Sistan-Baluchestan borders Afghanistan and Pakistan and analysts says Jundallah has exploited the unrest in the region to find safe haven on the frontier. Abdollahi urged Iran's eastern neighbours to "watch their borders" to prevent the militant group using their territory.

Jundallah claims it is fighting for the rights of Sunni Baluchis who make up a significant proportion of the population of Sistan-Baluchestan province and straddle Iran's eastern borders.

Crowds of mourners gathered in the provincial capital Zahedan on Saturday for a mass funeral for the bombings' victims. They gathered outside the city's Jamia mosque where the bombers struck for a procession to the main cemetery.

"Those who committed these terrorist acts are neither Shiite or Sunni," said one banner carried by the mourners, while crowds chanted: "Death to terrorists," the official IRNA news agency reported.

Bureau Report


First Published: Saturday, July 17, 2010, 12:25


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