190216 iranian guards
Members of Iranian revolutionary guards corps (IRGC) attend the funeral of fellow guards, who were killed in a suicide attack, in southeastern city of Isfahan Image Credit: AFP

Manama: The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has threatened to take unprecedented action against Saudi Arabia and the UAE over a suicide attack on Wednesday evening that killed 27 IRGC members and injured 13 others.

Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday said there were clear links between the terror attack and spy agencies of some countries in the region and beyond.

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari in his remarks also criticised Pakistan for allegedly providing shelter for the perpetrators of the attack.

The bomb attack targeted a bus taking IRGC staff between the cities of Zahedan and Khash, in Sistan and Balouchestan in southeastern Iran

“An explosives-laden car rammed into the bus, which was taking the personnel back to their homes,” the IRGC said.

Al Jafari said that “the terrorists hitting the IRGC forces are under the protection of the Pakistani security forces.”

“The Pakistani government, which has sheltered these anti-revolutionary and dangerous elements, knows where their hideouts are, should be held accountable for the crime that has been committed …

"If Pakistan doesn’t do its duties in this regard, Iran, based on the international laws, has the right to counter the adjacent threats in the neighbouring countries and will punish the terrorists that are the mercenaries of regional and extra regional intelligence services,” Al Jafari said on the sidelines of the ceremony for those killed in the attack, Tasnim and Irna news agencies reported on Saturday.

"Iran’s determination will be strengthened by the blood of the “martyrs” and Saudi Arabia and the UAE should expect a reaction from Iran that would be different from the patience that the Iranian establishment used to exercise in the face of such conspiracies and governments" Al Jafari warned.

The IRGC commander went on to say that his forces will definitely take retaliatory measures against such attacks in the future, Tasnim reported.

A terrorist group called Jaish Al Adl has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, Al Jafari said.

In September last year, Iran accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of being behind an attack on a military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz that left 24 people dead.

“The kingdom completely rejects the deplorable false accusations by Iranian officials regarding the kingdom’s support for the incidents that occurred in Iran,” a foreign ministry official said, quoted by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s policy is clear regarding its non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries,” the official said.

UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash dismissed Iran’s accusation as “baseless”.

“This official campaign launched in Iran against the UAE is regrettable and has escalated since the Ahvaz attack,” Gargash posted on his Twitter account.