A Sunni terrorist group claimed credit for an attack that killed 14 Iranian border guards on Friday, Oct. 25.
In the statement published in Persian on their website, the Army of Justice took credit for the attack that killed mostly conscripts in the city of Seravan in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the Iran-Pakistan border. The statement read: “This successful operation is an answer to the violent crimes of Sepah (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) in the Islamic land of Syria and is also an answer for oppression and crimes the regime has committed against the oppressed Sunnis of Iran.”
The Army of Justice is a relatively new Sunni jihadi group that has carried out terrorist attacks before in the Sistan-Balochistan province.
In response to the attack, the chief prosecutor of the Sistan-Balochistan province hanged 16 individuals. According to Mashregh News, all of the individuals had previously been convicted; however, their verdicts had not been carried out. According to the list provided, 8 of the individuals belonged to Jundullah, a Sunni terrorist group that has been responsible for terrorist attacks on civilians, assassinations and kidnappings in Iran. The other individuals were hanged on drug offenses.
Iran’s Basij organization blamed the United States and Israel for being behind the scenes of the attack.
In a written statement, the Basij organization said: “One more time the blood-sucking US regime’s [hands] were with the takfiri terrorists and spilled the blood of innocent and devoted border guards of Iran. Without a doubt this inhumane crime, which is evidence of the dishonesty of the arrogant regime, will not go unanswered, and the agents and those who carried this out will receive justice.”
The statement accused Israel and the United States of “on appearance speaking of peace and friendship, but in action do nothing but spilling blood, oppressing and torturing.” The statement continued that “against the US’ desires” Iranians will not break their unity in the face of terrorist attacks.
Iran has long accused the United States and even Israel of working with Sunni and Salafi groups in countries from Afghanistan to Syria. In January 2013, Mark Perry wrote in Foreign Policy that Israeli Mossad agents posed as US spies to recruit members of Jundullah in a covert war against Iran. Abdolmalek Rigi, the former head of Jundullah who was executed in Iran in 2010, spoke of his contacts with Americans in a confession that was aired by Iranian TV.
Iran’s Balochistan and Sistan province is home to many ethnic Baloch, who are Sunni, and Sistani Persians. The province is one of the most poverty-stricken areas in Iran, and is often the scene of social unrest, drug trafficking and violence.