Seven high-ranking Iranian officers, including at least two generals, and several tribal leaders were among the 42 people who died in a suicide bombing attack on their meeting in the Sistan-Baluchi provincial town of Pisheen early Sunday, Oct. 18.
Tehran vowed swift retribution, soon after Parliament speaker Ali Larijani accused the US: “We consider the recent terrorist attack to be the result of US action,” he said. “Mr. Obama has said he will extend his hand towards Iran, but…he has burned his hand.” Washington condemned the attack and rejected the charge of involvement “as completely false.” State television accused Britain.
DEBKAfile reported earlier: Two of the seven officers killed Sunday when the bomb detonated his vest were Revolutionary Guards generals, the deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards Gen. Nur-Ali Shushtari, and Gen. Mohammad-Zadeh, chief IRGC commander of the province.
Their loss has hit the regime in Tehran hard. DEBKAfile‘s Iranian and counter terror sources identify Gen. Shuhstari’s as covert commander of the Al Qods Brigades’ secret bases abroad, in such places as Iran and Afghanistan as well as Lebanon and the Gaza Strip where they support Hizballah in Lebanon and the Palestinian respectively. Al Qods is the IRGC ‘s terrorist arm outside Iran.
The Sistan-Baluchistan prosecutor said Abdolmalek Rigi, of the Sunni secessionist terrorist group Jundallah had accepted responsibility for the attack.
The Sunni Baluchi Jundallah, which loathes the Shiite government of Tehran and is fighting for the province’s independence, struck at a point close to the Pakistani and Afghanistan borders. The assassin would have mingled with the Iranian officers entering the hall and blown himself up in their midst – a method used by al Qaeda in Iraq to blow away Sunni tribal leaders working with the US army.
According to some Western and Iranian sources, Jundallah is supported by the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence agency and the CIA. In 2007, the group staged a failed assassination attempt on president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tehran has since pestered Islamabad to rein in the group to no avail.