US Backs Terrorist Groups in Iran
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran accused the United States of supporting a terrorist group which said on Friday it had killed two of 16 Iranian policemen kidnapped last week in an area near the border with Pakistan.
"This terrorist group (Jundollah), which is supported by the Americans, has a history of such terrorist acts," Iranian Government Spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters during a weekly press conference on Saturday.
Iran has blamed US and British agents based in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan for launching deadly attacks in border provinces in recent years.
Documents obtained in previous cases have proved that Britain and the United States have both striven to destabilize the Islamic Republic by supporting rebels, mainly those in sensitive border areas.
Iran and the United States are engaged in a standoff over Tehran's progress in nuclear technology.
The United States and Iran broke diplomatic relations in April 1980, after Iranian students seized the United States' espionage center at its embassy in the heart of Tehran. The two countries have had tense relations ever since.
Jundollah said on Friday it had killed two policemen and threatened to kill the other 14 it is holding unless Tehran meets demands including the release of jailed comrades, Al Arabiya television reported.
It said a spokesman identified as Abdul-Raouf had told Arabiya by phone that the group had decided to kill the men after the Iranian government executed two of their comrade terrorists.
The Arab network screened a video of two blindfolded men kneeling on the ground but said it could not show the full footage of the killings to avoid disturbing viewers.
Elham said Iranian authorities were investigating the reported killings. "It is likely that (Jundollah's) claims are a psychological maneuver and nothing more. And, consequently, one cannot confirm their propaganda and psychological ploys," the spokesman said.
He also suggested the kidnapping was in response to a crackdown on the group: "They should ... anticipate additional blows from Iranian security forces".
The terrorist group had kidnapped 16 policemen on June 13 and taken them to nearby Pakistan after attacking a police station in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan, notorious for frequent clashes with drug smugglers.
In 2007, Jundollah claimed responsibility for an attack on a bus carrying Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) members that killed 11 people.
Iranian officials have said that the group's leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, was a leader of al Qaeda's network in Iran.
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