Less than 24 hours after an attack on the Revolutionary Guard, the Obama Administration releases a statement condemning the attack. Why couldn’t this administration have acted this quickly when the Iranian protesters were shot and killed by these same Revolutionary Guard members? Instead it took them days to issue a condemnation statement, long after Neda Soltani was killed. From Laura Rozen in The Politico:
The U.S. has condemned a suicide attack that killed five Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps members today.
Five commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were killed in suicide attacks in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan, according to reports.
The Baluch group Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack, that reportedly killed over 40 people.
Iranian authorities have accused the Sunni group of receiving funding from foreign countries including the United States. The US has denied supporting Jundullah.
“We condemn this act of terrorism and mourn the loss of innocent lives,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said. “Reports of alleged U.S. involvement are completely false.”
Iran summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires over the attack, Iran’s PressTV reported.
“We have heard that certain officials in Pakistan cooperate with main agents of these terrorist attacks in eastern parts of the country,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was cited after a Cabinet session. “It is our right to ask (for extradition) of criminals.”
Early Sunday, bombers reportedly struck a car carrying Guards as they headed to a meeting of Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders. “In one attack, a suicide bomber wearing a military uniform and an explosive belt entered a mosque where guard commanders were organizing a reconciliation meeting between local Sunni and Shiite Muslim leaders, according to the semi-official ILNA news service,” the Times reported.
The attack reportedly killed Brig. Gen. Nourali Shoushtari, the lieutenant commander of IRGC ground forces, the commanders of Sistan and Baluchistan province, the Iranshahr Corps, the Sarbaz Corps and the Amiralmoemenin Brigade, Iran’s Fars News Agency said.
“The [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] IRGC and local police forces have lost quite a few personnel to Jundallah attacks, including a brigadier last fall,” says Mark Fowler, a former CIA officer who heads Booz Allen’s Persia House, an Iran research unit that closely monitors open source Iranian press. “Clearly, the regime thought it had made some progress on this … but obviously not enough. Based on the interview with the captured [Baluch leader] Rigi, it appears the Iranian government has recently been focused not just on a military solution but a public information/propaganda campaign. The meetings [planned for today] are clearly part of this ‘soft’ outreach/reconciliation effort.”
“This latest attack may be in direct response to the regime’s unwillingness to consider commuting the arrested Rigi’s death sentence, or recognize Jundallah’s status and talk to them,” Fowler added. “In any case, the Iranians are attempting to cast Jundallah activities as being directly supported by the U.S.”
“The Baluch are at more or less permanent war with everybody around them,” another former senior US intelligence officer told POLITICO. “They shelter the Taliban from Afghanistan, they smuggle narcotics through Iran to the processing facilities in Turkey, they engage in arms trafficking with everybody and they are of serious concern to the government of Pakistan which has fought more than one war against them. …[They] believe that [Iran’s majority] Shia are heretics. The US has no ties with them and never has had.”
Today’s attacks come a day before Iran is due to meet with US, French and Russian diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to negotiate upcoming inspections of the Qom enrichment facility and transfer of Iranian low enriched uranium to Russia and France for further processing.
The Revolutionary Guard is responsible for countless number of US deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet we quickly condemn. What an embarrassment.