In recent news, tens of thousands of Iranians said a ‘Big Yes’ for “revenge” on Saturday at the funeral of 27 Revolutionary Guards martyred in a suicide attack inflicted by jihadists that Tehran now blames Pakistan of backing.
“The government of Pakistan must pay the price of harbouring these terrorist groups and this price will undoubtedly be very high,” said Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, citing jihadist outfit Jaish al Adl who is “Army of Justice”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will no longer observe the previous reservations and will directly act to counter such acts,” Jafari told mourners who gathered at the city of Isfahan’s Bozorgmehr Square.
Jafari blamed Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency, saying that “sheltering and silence” adds up to supporting the executors.
Just as he left the podium, people shouted “Commander of Sepah (Farsi for Revolutionary Guards) – Revenge! Revenge!”.
The Wednesday explosion was aimed at a busload of Revolutionary Guards in the tense southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which extends across the border with Pakistan.
Jafari also criticised “the traitorous governments of Saudi Arabia and (the) Emirates” and said Iran will no longer bear their “hidden support for anti-Islam thugs and Takfiri groups”.
He then called on President Hassan Rouhani and the country’s Supreme National Security Council to give the guards more freedom to execute “retaliatory operations,” but did not explain further.
Iran’s supreme leader identified as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has linked the executors of Wednesday’s attack to “the spying agencies of some regional and trans-regional countries”.
FYI, troopers killed in the explosion belonged to the Guards’ 14th Imam Hussein Division, based in Isfahan province, as per the Tasnim news agency. From age 21 to 52, each will be buried in his hometown following the funeral.
A housekeeper from Khuzestan province, where a dastardly attack cost 24 lives last year, told AFP of the thirst for revenge.
“We demand that the blood of these troops be avenged,” said the 34-year-old Tayebbeh Rezaee. “They cannot weaken the Islamic Republic in any way- not war, not economic attacks. So they have to stoop to such acts.”
Sistan-Baluchistan has long been a stage at which violence is expected to begin. It is where Pakistan-based Baluchi separatists, as well as jihadists, carry out cross-border raids.
A Revolutionary Guard was murdered and five injured in a February 2 attack claimed by Jaish al-Adl on a base of the Basij militia in the town of Nikshahr, some way from the border. One of the wounded identified as Khodarahm Heidari, who was severely injured in that attack passed away on Saturday, semi-official news agency ISNA reported.
On January 29, around three members of an Iranian bomb squad sent to the bombing spot in the provincial capital Zahedan were wounded when a second device blew up completely as they were trying to defuse it, police confirmed at the time.