Iran FM links bus bombing to Warsaw meeting

Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard were targeted by a suicide bomber killing at least 20. REUTERS  Stringer  File

According to IRGC Qods Base statement, the bus was attacked by a auto bomb packed with explosive material on the road between Zahedan and Khash in the southeastern province.

The bombing Wednesday night struck the bus travelling on a road between the cities of Khash and Zahedan, a mountainous region along the Pakistani border that is also near Afghanistan.

While Sunni militant groups are not regarded as a major threat, the attack dealt a fresh blow to Iran's security establishment, which has often said it can repel any threat no matter how big, even from the United States and its ally Israel.

In 2009, more than 40 people, including six Guard commanders, were killed in a suicide attack in Sistan-Baluchestan province. Thirteen people were wounded.

The latest attack, one of the deadliest ever carried out against the top military force, comes as Iran is trying to parry what it sees as a US-led war on its economy after Washington re-imposed crippling sanctions against the country. It was the deadliest such attack in Iran in almost a decade. In 2018, the Guards launched missiles at an Iranian Kurdish armed opposition group in northern Iraq.

In October, Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for kidnapping 10 Iranian security personnel.

Iran's Shi'ite Muslim authorities say militant groups operate from safe havens in Pakistan and have repeatedly called on the neighboring country to crack down on them.

It came on the same day that a conference convened by the U.S. in Warsaw was to include discussions on what Washington describes as Iran's malign influence across the wider Middle East. Trump withdrew the US from the accord last May.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif directly linked the meeting to the attack.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, described the conference convened by the U.S. as the Warsaw Circus, and said it was "no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day" that the talks began.

"About the United States, the resolution of any issues is not imaginable and negotiations with it will bring nothing but material and spiritual harm", Khamenei said in a statement.

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