TEHRAN, Iran—Iran’s supreme leader on Friday blamed the West for a deadly suicide bombing at a mosque this week, saying the country’s enemies were trying to divide Muslims and halt its nuclear activities.
The armed Sunni militant group Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s double bombing outside a Shiite mosque in the southeastern port city of Chahbahar near the Pakistan border, which killed 39 people.
In a condolence message read during funeral ceremonies for the victims, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the attack on “arrogant powers,” a reference to the United States and its allies.
“The people have perceived the goals of the enemy and realized that the arrogant powers do not want the Islamic world to have pride or leadership,” he said, according to the state news agency IRNA. “The enemies do not want the unity of Muslims … They do not want to see uranium enrichment in our country.”
He did not elaborate on the connection. Iran has often accused the United States and its allies of supporting Jundallah in hopes of causing instability in Iran, a claim Washington has denied. The U.S. and other countries condemned Wednesday’s attack, and the United States designated Jundallah a terrorist organization earlier this year.
Jundallah has carried out a series of deadly attacks on the military and civilians in eastern Iran over the past years, and said the latest attack was to avenge the hanging of its leader Abdulmalik Rigi earlier this year.
The United Nations has demanded Iran halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or material for a warhead. The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the claim, saying its nuclear program is peaceful and that it has a right to enrich uranium.
State TV showed footage of the funeral ceremonies, including photos of the victims. At least three of them wore uniforms, apparently policemen.