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Khamenei Blames 'Mercenaries', Other Officials Blame The U.S. For Terror Attack On IRGC

A bus that was reportedly blown up by a suicide attack is seen in southeastern Iran, February 13, 2019

In a statement on Thursday the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei attributed the February 13 deadly attack on the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' (IRGC) personnel to the intelligence services of the region and beyond.

At least 27 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards were killed and ten wounded in a suicide attack in the southeast of the country, Iranian news agencies reported on February 13.

The militant Sunni Muslim separatist group Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack.

The suicide bomber struck a bus transporting Islamic Revolution Guard members on the road between the cities of Zahedan and Khash, in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province, the Guards said in a statement carried by state media.

Sistan-Baluchestan is a volatile area near the border with Pakistan where militant groups and drug smugglers frequently clash with the Islamic Republic's security forces.

“The criminal hands of mercenaries was, once again, stained with the blood of the righteous and young servants of the country, and a group dedicated to protecting the borders and the security of the people was martyred in the attack by the dark-faced cruel terrorists,” Khamenei said in his Thursday message.

Insisting that the involvement of foreign intelligence services of regional countries and beyond is an "indisputable fact", Khamenei ordered "responsible" state entities to focus on that "fact", and seriously pursue the issue.

However, Khamenei has stopped short of naming ant countries. Instead, President Hassan Rouhani directly blamed the United States and its regional allies.

Meanwhile, the 79-year-old Ayatollah called on relevant state organs to "swiftly track the accomplices" behind the attack, bring them to justice, adding that to find out who is responsible for letting such carnage occur is the IRGC's unquestionable right and duty.

Other senior officials of the Islamic Republic have joined the chorus in attributing the deadly attack to foreign governments and their spy agencies.

"The crime will remain as a 'dirty mark' in the black record of the main supporters of terrorism in the White House, Tel Aviv, and their regional agents," Rouhani maintained on February 14, before leaving Tehran for Sochi, Russia.

Furthermore, without naming any country in particular, Rouhani warned, "If some of the neighboring countries are incapable to rein in the terrorists, Iran will step in to achieve its rights." This could be seen as a warning to Pakistan, where Baluch insurgents are believed to shelter.

The Chief-Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari also said his forces are determined to take severe revenge on terrorists behind the suicide.

Attributing the suicide bombing to the "global arrogance" (a term used by the Islamic Republic authorities to refer to the U.S.), Jafari promised that the attack will be avenged.

In the meantime, several officials of the Islamic ruling establishment, including Majles speaker, Ali Larijani, and Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have implicitly connected the suicide bombing with an international summit in the Polish capital Warsaw.

Without any elaboration, Zarif tweeted, "The terrorists celebrated the attack in the streets of Warsaw."

Nevertheless, the Polish Foreign Ministry has deplored terrorism in all its forms, including the deadly assault on the IRGC's bus, insisting that there “are no terrorists currently in Warsaw", and whoever is present in the gathering is for "democracy, freedom of expression, and solidarity".

The International Warsaw forum, sponsored by the U.S. State Department and attended by more than sixty countries, has been assigned to review security and stability in the Middle East.

Hundreds of pro-monarchy Iranians as well as followers of an exiled anti-Islamic Republic dissident group, Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), have grabbed the chance to protest against the Islamic establishment in the streets of Warsaw.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Kuwait and diplomats from India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Syria, and Turkey have deplored and condemned the deadly attack.

Helena Sangeland and Stefan Schultz, respectively the ambassadors of Sweden and Austria in Tehran, have also insisted that no country is immune against the consequences of extremism and violence, and all sorts of terrorist actions should be condemned.

Expressing condolences to the relatives of the deadly attack, the UK's Middle East minister, Alistair Burt, has also written, "Terrorism, wherever it occurs, is unacceptable and should be condemned."