Iran: Sunni militants claim Shiraz mosque attack

A little-known Iranian Sunni militant group claimed responsibility June 18 for a mosque bombing that killed 14 and wounded 200 in Shiraz April 12. “This is the very first operation and the signal to the criminal regime of Iran…to stop its oppression, cruelty and injustice towards…Sunnis,” the Jihadi Movement of the Sunna People of Iran said in an Internet statement. The group said it carried out the attack to avenge what it said was the execution of two Sunni scholars in Iran’s southeastern Baluchistan region. (Reuters, June 18)

Iran’s chief prosecutor Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi previously said 15 men had been arrested in the blast. “Those responsible for the attack against the Shiraz mosque have confessed to having links to worldwide oppression, in particular the United States and Israel,” Najafabadi said May 25. Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said the same group had also plotted attacks in the holy city of Qom. (FNA, Iran, May 25)

“According to undeniable and strong evidence and documents, a terrorist network that was involved in the Shiraz mosque blast is supported and directed by an anti-revolutionary group inside the US,” ISNA news agency quoted a foreign ministry director for the Americas. “Acting from inside America, this counter-revolutionary group used the media and the Internet to recruit the terrorists, finance, train and send them to Iran, and it has claimed responsibility for the blast.” A formal protest to Washington was lodged through the Swiss embassy. (AFP, May 21)

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