Attack on Iran parade leaves over 30 soldiers dead


–Iran’s state media says Jaish al-Adl behind attack

TEHRAN: A suicide bombing hit a bus carrying members of the Iranian military’s elite Revolutionary Guards in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, killing 30 people and wounding 10, according to the semiofficial Fars News Agency.

A separatist group called Jaish al-Adl, or Army of Justice, has claimed responsibility, according to state-run news agency IRNA.

The explosion struck the vehicle on a desert road near Iran’s volatile border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the group is known to operate. It comes two days after Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

Less than two years ago, armed assailants, some disguised as women, stormed the Parliament building and the tomb of Iran’s revolutionary founder, in coordinated assaults that left at least 12 people dead. The Islamic State claimed responsibility, boasting that the attacks were its first ever against Iran, where the Shiite Muslim majority is loathed by the Islamic State’s Sunni extremist ideologues.

A southeastern Iranian province, Sistan and Baluchistan, is home to several extremist Sunni groups that have committed sporadic bombings, assassinations and other attacks on Iranian security forces and officials.

The latest attack came against the backdrop of a two-day diplomatic meeting in Warsaw organized by the United States and aimed partly at pressuring and isolating Iran.

Iranian leaders have often accused the United States and its key Middle East allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, of supporting armed opposition groups inside Iran with money, intelligence and weapons. Representatives of at least one Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, or MEK, were present at the Warsaw meeting.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, in a posting on his Twitter account, quickly drew a link between the Warsaw meeting and the deadly bus attack.

“Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that #WarsawCircus begins?” he wrote. “Especially when cohorts of same terrorists cheer it from Warsaw streets & support it with twitter bots? US seems to always make the same wrong choices, but expect different results.”