TEHRAN (AFP) – An Iranian provincial television has aired footage of a suspect confessing to this week’s deadly car bombing in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, official media said.
“Provincial channel Hamoun broadcast a two-minute video of Nasrollah Shamsi Zehi, a key suspect in Wednesday’s terrorist bombing, in which he admitted to his cooperation with the Jundallah terrorist group,” IRNA said Friday.
“With Jundallah planning … I carried out the bomb attack on Wednesday with the help of my friends,” the report quoted Shamsi Zehi as saying.
Jundullah is a shadowy Sunni militant group that has carried out a series of attacks in recent years in Sistan-Baluchestan and neighbouring districts and which claimed Wednesday’s attack in the provincial capital of Zahedan in which 11 elite Revolutionary Guards were killed and 31 wounded.
The bomb was hidden in a car and exploded as gunfire stopped the bus, which was taking the guards from their housing compound to a military base.
The suspect also reportedly confessed to his role in another attack on February 1 in which four police were killed in the ethnically mainly Baluchi city.
“I have been involved in stealing cars and killing the drivers as well as the terrorist operation in which police were killed in Bozorgmehr street,” he was quoted as saying.
The suspect was quoted as saying that he had joined Jundallah three months ago and undergone two months’ training in neighbouring Pakistan.
Shamsi Zehi said he had received 10 million rials (1,075 dollars) from the group’s leader Abdolmalek Rigi for each operation and appealed for a pardon from the Iranian authorities.
Provincial police commander Brigadier General Mohammad Ghafari said a total of 65 suspects had been detained over the Zahedan attack, including three who were believed to have actually carried it out.
He renewed Iranian accusations that Jundullah was receiving support from British and US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan for its campaign of violence in Sistan-Baluchestan, which unlike Iran as a whole has a Sunni majority.
Iranian officials have also accused the two Western allies of backing ethnic Arab rebels in the southwestern oil province of Khuzestan from neighbouring Iraq.