TEHRAN — Employing a tactic not seen in Iran before, a suicide bomber affiliated with a Sunni militant group killed four people and wounded 12 in an attack early Monday in Saravan, a southeastern city, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The group, Jundallah, has attacked Iranian armed forces and Revolutionary Guards in the past. But this was the first time it had used a suicide bombing similar to those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“This group has killed many innocent and defenseless civilians in the past, and the security forces have killed their members,” IRNA reported without providing further information.
The news agency did not disclose details about the attack, but according to unofficial news Web sites in Iran, a suicide bomber drove into a security forces headquarters in Saravan around 7:30 a.m. local time. Jundallah claimed responsibility for the attack, IRNA reported. It was not clear whether the casualties were civilians or members of the security forces.
Jundallah said in a statement posted by one of the Web sites that the attack was in retaliation for the authorities’ destruction of a Sunni religious school in Zabol, a southeastern city. It also said the suicide bomber was Abdol-ghafoor Rigi, the brother of the group’s leader.
Iran says the group, led by Abdolmalek Rigi, is a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda. The group has claimed responsibility for previous attacks, including one on a bus carrying members of the Revolutionary Guards in 2007.
Early this month, the authorities said that the group killed all 16 of the border guards it kidnapped in June. Jundallah had demanded the release of 200 of its prisoners in return for the border guards.
The authorities have accused Britain and the United States of supporting Jundallah to destabilize the Islamic Republic.
The first deputy chief of judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, said this month that Iran had documents showing that “Britain and America supported Rigi’s terrorist group with arms and information,” IRNA reported.
The group is active mostly in a southeastern province, Sistan va Baluchestan, near the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the majority of people are Sunni Muslims. Iran is predominantly Shiite. Jundallah says it is fighting discrimination against Sunnis by the Iranian authorities.