During a funeral ceremony, people carry flag-draped coffins of the victims of two bomb blasts in the city of Zahedan
Iran warns US of consequences POLICE DETAIN 40 AFTER MOSQUE BOMBING

TEHRAN, July 17, (Agencies): The United States will face “fallout” from a deadly rebel bomb attack in southeast Iran, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander was quoted as saying on Saturday by a semi-official Iranian news agency.
Massoud Jazayeri did not elaborate on what he meant. Iran has accused arch-foe Washington of backing Jundollah, the group that claimed responsibility for Thursday’s blasts that killed 28 people and wounded 306, including members of the Guards.
“Jundollah has been supported by America for its terrorist acts in the past ... America will have to await the fallout of such criminal and savage measures,” said Jazayeri, deputy head of the dominant ideological wing of Iran’s armed forces.
Jundollah, a Sunni Muslim rebel group, said it set off the bombs at a prominent Shi’ite Muslim mosque in the city of Zahedan in retaliation for the Islamic Republic’s execution in June of Jundollah leader Abdolmalek Rigi.
Iran says Jundollah has links to Sunni Islamist al-Qaeda and in the past has accused Pakistan, Britain and the United States of backing Jundollah to create instability in the southeast of predominantly Shi’ite Iran.
All three countries have denied this, and Jundollah denies having any association with al-Qaeda.
Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, an envoy of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the funeral, also blamed Washington for the attack, the official news agency IRNA reported.
US President Barack Obama on Friday condemned the bombing and said those responsible must be brought to account.
“The murder of innocent civilians in their place of worship is an intolerable offense, and those who carried it out must be held accountable,” Obama said in a statement.
The United States is embroiled in a stand-off with Iran over its nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is for peaceful energy purposes but Washington and other world powers suspect is a cover to develop the means to build atom bombs.
Tehran and Washington severed diplomatic relations shortly after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Jundollah, which says it is fighting for the rights of Iran’s Sunni Muslim minority, said Rigi’s relatives carried out the bombings targeting a Revolutionary Guards gathering.
The bodies of those killed were buried on Saturday in a ceremony in Zahedan attended by tens of thousands of people, according to Iranian state television.
Live footage showed the coffins, shrouded in Iranian flags, being carried on trucks with mourners chanting “Death to America” and demanding punishment of the attackers.
Iran arrested Rigi in February, four months after Jundollah claimed responsibility for a bombing which killed dozens of people, including 15 members of the Guards. That was the deadliest attack in Iran since the 1980s.
Zahedan is the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province on the border with Sunni Muslim Pakistan. The province is dogged by serious security problems with frequent clashes between Iranian police and drug dealers and bandits.
A senior police official, Ahmadreza Radan, warned that Iran had a right to “pursue rebels inside Pakistan territory ... Iran has limited patience. Instability in Sistan-Baluchestan is rooted abroad (where) there is lack of will to confront rebels.”
He said 40 people “who wanted to create instability” in Zahedan had been arrested there since the latest bombing.
Iran is grappling with ethnic and religious tensions in the southeastern province ande authorities have responded to attacks by Sunni rebels with a spate of hangings. Human rights groups and the West have condemned the hangings.
Iran rejects allegations by rights groups that it discriminates against ethnic and religious minorities.
Iranian police arrested 40 people following the devastating bombings of a mosque in the southeast as funerals were under way for the victims, local media reported on Saturday.
Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan, Iran’s deputy police chief, told the semiofficial Fars agency that the suspects “intended to create insecurity in Zahedan after the bombing,” but all was now calm in the city.
A Sunni insurgency called Jundallah, which has carried out several other bombings in the southeast over the past few years, claimed responsibility for the twin blasts, which killed 27.
Radan said that two policemen were among the dead and 10 others were wounded. Members of the elite Revolutionary Guards were also reportedly killed.
Thousands turned out Saturday for the mass funerals, marching through the streets and chanting “death to terrorists” and “down with the US,” according to footage shown on state TV.
Iranian officials continued their traditional stance of blaming foreign countries, particularly the US, for the bombing.
“Americans cannot make an excuse in this case, they were behind the terrorist act in Zahedan,” Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani told TV.
Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi, meanwhile said those carrying out the crime “were trained and equipped beyond our borders and then came into Iran.”
Iran has accused the US and Britain of supporting Jundallah in an effort to weaken the Iranian government, a charge they deny. On Friday President Barack Obama condemned the bombing.
Jundallah, which says it is fighting for the rights of the mainly Sunni Baluchi minority, said Friday the attack was revenge for the execution of its leader Abdulmalik Rigi in June in Zahedan.
His younger brother, Abdulhamid, was executed in May in Iran after being captured in Pakistan in 2008 and extradited to Iran.
The group gained attention six years ago after it launched a campaign of sporadic kidnappings and bombings that killed dozens. The group claims minority Sunni tribes in southeastern Iran suffer discrimination at the hands of Iran’s Shiite leadership.
For the moment, the Iranian scientist who returned to his homeland claiming he was abducted by the CIA is a national hero and a prime player in Tehran’s propaganda war with the US.
But after Shahram Amiri’s public role is done, former CIA officials say, he will likely face intense questioning about his defection from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and a future etched in fear.
Amiri is at the center of a volatile war of words between Iran and the U.S., with each country trading public salvos designed to discredit the other. But his short career as a defector and informant for the US also will expose him to pressure from Iranian officials for information about his American handlers — and to even more perilous questions about his loyalty.
“They will keep him in fear and in doubt as to what his eventual fate will be,” said Paul Pillar, a former CIA analyst with extensive knowledge of Iran. “From the private, official Iranian point of view, this guy is an awful traitor. If it weren’t for the public relations aspect, he might have been strung up yesterday already or shot.”
The Washington Post reported on its website late Friday that Amiri for some time had been providing the CIA with information about Iran’s nuclear program while he was still in Iran. The report said he was one of two informants the agency whisked out of the country last year because of concerns that the Tehran government had discovered they were providing secrets.
Amiri was among a half dozen people working inside the Iranian nuclear program that subsequently were settled in the United States and given “reward packages” of money, the newspaper said, quoting anonymous US officials.
On Thursday, Amiri took part in a high-profile news conference in Tehran and stuck to his tale that he was kidnapped by the CIA in Saudi Arabia and whisked to Arizona and held against his will.
US officials countered aggressively, releasing glints of revealing information intended to chip away at Amiri’s credibility.
They have called Amiri’s story a “fairy tale” and said the scientist was paid $5 million to provide the CIA with information about its suspected nuclear weapons program. They have said Amiri, who ran a radiation detection program in Iran, provided the CIA with significant information and had stayed here for months of his own free will.
The Swiss and Iranian governments denied reports on Saturday that Bern’s ambassador to Tehran was detained by the Islamic republic’s security forces earlier this week.
Iranian state media said police had briefly detained ambassador Livia Leu Agosti, whose embassy represents US interests in Iran, on Wednesday while she was on a trip to North Khorasan province.
Citing “informed sources,” the website of Press TV, the Iranian channel in English, said Agosti was detained “because her identity was not established at the time” but freed a few hours later.
This was despite Agosti’s trip to a provincial village having been planned in “coordination and full permission of the foreign ministry,” state television said on its website, also quoting an informed source.
“But the local security forces temporarily arrested on July 14 the Swiss ambassador because her identity was not established. However after coordination with relevant authorities she was immediately released,” the website said.
Switzerland’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that Agosti had only been “checked by local police during a trip,” adding “she was not detained” and that the matter would not affect Bern’s relations with Tehran.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said later that the reports about Agosti’s detention had “been covered inaccurately and wrongly.”
“Such an incident as reported by some websites is not true,” he was quoted on the same website without elaborating.
The Swiss embassy in Tehran has handled the interests of the United States in Iran since the two archfoes broke off ties in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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