Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Apr. 05 Iran claimed on Wednesday that its security forces had killed twelve Iranian dissidents belonging to a group that took responsibility for an armed attack in March on a convoy of government officials in Irans south-eastern province of Sistan-va-Baluchistan. Iran Focus
Tehran, Iran, Apr. 05 Iran claimed on Wednesday that its security forces had killed twelve Iranian dissidents belonging to a group that took responsibility for an armed attack in March on a convoy of government officials in Irans south-eastern province of Sistan-va-Baluchistan.
The government-run news agency Fars quoted an unnamed government official as saying that Abdolmalek Reigi, the leader of the group calling itself Jondollah, and 11 members of his group were killed in clashes with security forces on Irans border with Afghanistan.
Hundreds of people have been arrested in Irans south-eastern province of after the ambush on a government convoy carrying dozens of provincial officials in March.
The majority of those arrested were Baluchis, a predominantly Sunni Muslim ethnic minority, who the authorities have claimed have ties to the attackers.
Twenty-two Iranian government and provincial officials were killed and at least seven, including the governor of the city of Zahedan, were critically wounded in the ambush as their convoy was returning from Zabol to Zahedan in the early hours of March 17. A further seven were taken hostage.
Hours after the attack, Irans police chief, Brigadier General Ismaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam, announced there was evidence that the assailants had held meetings with British intelligence officers.
Irans Interior Minister also pointed the finger at Britain and the United States for masterminding the attack.
The minister, radical Shiite cleric Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, also claimed the people behind the attack were the same as those behind a spate of bombings in Irans south-western province of Khuzestan earlier this year and in 2005.
What is clear about the recent events in Zabol and Khuzistan is that those behind the attackers were the same, Pour-Mohammadi said.
According to reports received, American and British security officials have had meetings with certain leaders of bandits and have encouraged them to carry out terrorist attacks [in Iran”>, he said.
Iran has witnessed escalating unrest in recent months in areas populated by Baluchis, who complain of discriminatory and repressive policies by the theocratic regime.