Published February 19, 2007
| Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran executed the bomber at the site of his attack that killed several members of an elite military corps, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Monday.
The report said the government hanged Nasrollah Shanbe Zehi in public in Zahedan, capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province, a day after a revolutionary court convicted him for last week's bombing that killed 11 members of the Revolutionary Guards.
The attack occurred when a car packed with explosives pulled to a stop in front of a bus carrying members of the Revolutionary Guard to their posts.
Zehi, who was arrested a few hours after the bombing in Zahedan, was also convicted of the deaths of four policemen and two civilians and a bank robbery, all of which occurred separately.
The Sunni Muslim militant group called Jundallah, or God's Brigade, which has been blamed for past attacks on Iranian troops, has claimed responsibility for last week's bombing.
IRNA quoted an unnamed "responsible official" as saying on Friday that Zehi confessed that the attacks were part of U.S. plans to provoke ethnic and religious violence in Iran.
Iranian state media has previously alleged U.S. plots to foment sectarian strife, especially in the multiethnic southeast. This area, near Pakistan and Afghanistan has long been plagued by lawlessness. It is believed to be a key crossing point for drugs from Afghanistan and Iranian media frequently reports clashes there between police and drug gangs.
Iran's accusations come as tensions continue to mount between Tehran and Washington over allegations of Iranian involvement in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, and over Iran's nuclear activities.
At Iran's request, the United Nations Security Council condemned the deadliest terrorist attack in the country in years and extended "sincere condolences" to the Iranian people — but not to their government, at U.S. insistence.
Acting U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Alejandro Wolff, said it was "a rich irony" that Tehran, which has refused to implement a council resolution demanding suspension of its uranium enrichment program, asked the council to adopt the statement condemning the attack.
"We rejoice in the fact that the government recognizes that the council is the supreme body to deal with issues of international peace and security," Wolff said in the session last week a day after the bombing. He then urged Iran to implement its obligations under council resolutions.
Jundallah, believed by some to have links to al-Qaida, has waged a low-level insurgency in southeastern Iran and is led by Abdulmalak Rigi, a member of Iran's ethnic Baluchi minority, a community that is Sunni Muslim and can be found in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rigi has said his group is fighting for the rights of impoverished Sunnis under Iran's Shiite government.
In December, Jundallah claimed responsibility for kidnapping seven Iranian soldiers in the Zahedan region, threatening to kill them unless group members were freed from Iranian prisons. The seven were released a month later, apparently after negotiations through tribal mediators.
In March 2006, gunmen dressed as security forces killed 21 people on a highway outside Zahedan in an attack authorities blamed on "rebels," though Jundallah was never specifically named.