Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

At least 20 Guard personnel killed in Iran bombing

At least 20 Guard personnel killed in Iran bombing

An Sunni extremist group linked to al-Qaida and which operates across the border in Pakistan reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Wednesday's attack was the deadliest in Iran since September, when gunmen killed at least 24 people at a military parade in the south-western city of Ahvaz. Thirteen people were wounded.

It also comes two days after Iran marked the 40th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. It was the deadliest such attack in Iran in almost a decade.

Both official and semi-official Iranian media outlets blamed Wednesday's bombing on Jaish al-Adl, or "Army of Justice", saying the group had claimed the attack.

Jaish al-Adl emerged as the main armed opposition movement in the southeast after members of another Sunni group, Jundullah, joined it after their leader was captured on a plane in 2010.

Iranian authorities blamed "jihadist separatists" for the assault claiming they were backed by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

It came on the same day that a conference convened by the U.S. in Warsaw was to include discussions on what Washington describes as Iran's malign influence across the wider Middle East.

Neighbouring Pakistan condemned the suicide attack, "Shocked and grieved to hear about the suicide attack on IRGC bus near Zahidan today, in which many lives were lost", Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said in a statement. Since then, the United Nations says Iran has kept up its side of the bargain, though Iranian officials have increasingly threatened to resume higher enrichment.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, described the conference convened by the USA as the Warsaw Circus, and said it was "no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day" that the talks began. Zarif wrote on Twitter.

"About the United States, the resolution of any issues is not imaginable and negotiations with it will bring nothing but material and spiritual harm", Khamenei said in a statement.

Zarif earlier predicted the Warsaw summit would not be productive for the U.S.

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