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Iran Vows Harsh Punishment Against Terrorist Attack On Elite Forces

By Orkhan Jalilov February 16, 2019

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A group of Iranian border guards march at the eastern border of Iran shared with Pakistan and Afghanistan, near Zabol, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran, July 19, 2011. / Voice of America

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has condemned the recent terrorist attack in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan, which borders Pakistan, in which dozens of military personnel were killed or wounded.

“Without a doubt, all perpetrators and those who ordered this vicious, flagrant act will be punished soon with the hard work of the powerful security forces of the country,” the official website of the Iranian president reported him as saying on February 14.

Rouhani pointed the finger, as is common amongst Iranian leaders, to the United States and Israel.

“This crime is another shame in the dark history of the main sponsors of terrorism at the White House, Tel Aviv and their regional agents who are making ridiculous, airy attempts for promoting Iranophobia and claiming to be fighting terrorism and creating security for the Middle East. But the lives of the peoples throughout the region are victim to their arms business and dirty dollars soaked in the blood of the oppressed,” Rouhani said.

According to initial reports, 27 members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have been killed, and 13 others were wounded in an attack occurring on the evening of February 13.

According to a statement released by the IRGC's Qods headquarters, the IRGC personnel were traveling between the cities of Zahedan and Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan province when their bus was targeted in a suicide car bomb attack. An explosives-laden car rammed into the bus, which was taking the personnel back to their homes.

The insurgent group Jaish ul-Adl has claimed responsibility for Wednesday night's terrorist attack, via social media.

Jaish al-Adl describes itself as a political-military movement and claims to be fighting to achieve justice for what it sees as an oppressed minority population in Iran, namely the Sunni Baluch people. The group has been fighting Iranian security forces, primarily in Sistan and Baluchestan, for years.

Jaish al-Adl also operates from bases in the neighboring Pakistani province of Baluchistan, where it allegedly receives support from local Baluch tribes. The group is responsible for kidnapping Iranian border guards and carrying out other terrorist attacks of a similar nature to this week’s attack in recent years.

In October 2018, members abducted 14 Iranian border guards including Iranian Basij volunteer forces at a border post in the city of Mirjaveh, located in Sistan and Baluchestan. Following the incident, the IRGC’s Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made separate visits to Pakistan to discuss the issue with Pakistani officials.

Besides Jaish al-Adl, other rebel groups operating in the border regions of Iran and Pakistan include the Baluch nationalist group Jundallah and Harakat Ansar Iran.