Iran blames deadly bomb attack near Pakistan border on ‘terrorist group’ enemies

1 killed, 3 injured by blast in Saravan in restive southeastern region; state news agency says perpetrators ‘linked to global arrogance’ — a phrase used for US and its allies

Illustrative: Violence in the Saravan border area of Sistan-Baluchistan Province, Iran, February 2021. (YouTube)
Illustrative: Violence in the Saravan border area of Sistan-Baluchistan Province, Iran, February 2021. (YouTube)

A bomb attack Sunday killed one person and wounded three in southeastern Iran, a state news agency reported, blaming a “terrorist group” linked to Tehran’s enemies.

The attack occurred at about 9:30 am local time (0600 GMT) in Saravan city, the site of recent violence, in the restive Sistan-Baluchistan province.

A group “linked to global arrogance,” a phrase often used in Iran for the United States and its allies, had carried out “the explosion at one of Saravan’s squares, leading to one being killed and the injury of three citizens crossing the street,” IRNA said.

Sistan-Baluchistan straddles the border with Pakistan and has a large, mainly Sunni ethnic Baluch population.

The province has long been a flashpoint for cross-border attacks by separatists and Sunni extremists. A Sunni separatist group affiliated with al-Qaeda and known as Jeish al-Adl, or Army of Justice, operates in the area.

The area is one of the least developed and poorest parts of Iran.

Sistan and Baluchistan province is a well-worn trafficking route for drugs and petrol and has been the scene of occasional clashes between Iranian government forces and various militant groups.

The Sunday attack came almost a month after deadly clashes with fuel smugglers in Sistan-Baluchistan left two people dead, including a policeman in Saravan, according to Iranian authorities.

The UN Human Rights Office said at least 12 people were reportedly killed, two of them minors, and accused Iranian security forces of using excessive force.

But little information filtered out due to a near-total shutdown of the internet with activists saying the government uses the tactic repeatedly when protests erupt.

The internet shutdown was a “measure authorities appear to be using as a tool to conceal gross human rights violations and possible international crimes such as extrajudicial killings,” freedom of expression groups Access Now, Article 19 and Miaan Group said in a joint statement with Amnesty International earlier this month.

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