Iranian police arrested 40 people following the devastating bombings of a mosque in the southeast as funerals were under way for the victims, local media reported on Saturday.
Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan, Iran’s deputy police chief, told the semiofficial Fars agency that the suspects “intended to create insecurity in Zahedan after the bombing,” but all was now calm in the city.
A Sunni insurgency called Jundallah, which has carried out several other bombings in the southeast over the past few years, claimed responsibility for the twin blasts, which killed 27.
Gen. Radan said that two policemen were among the dead and 10 others were wounded. Members of the elite Revolutionary Guards were also reportedly killed.
Thousands turned out Saturday for the mass funerals, marching through the streets and chanting “death to terrorists” and “down with the U.S.,” according to footage shown on state TV.
Iranian officials continued their traditional stance of blaming foreign countries, particularly the U.S., for the bombing.
“Americans cannot make an excuse in this case, they were behind the terrorist act in Zahedan,” Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani told TV.
Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi, meanwhile said those carrying out the crime “were trained and equipped beyond our borders and then came into Iran.”
Iran has accused the U.S. and Britain of supporting Jundallah in an effort to weaken the Iranian government, a charge they deny. On Friday President Barack Obama condemned the bombing.
Jundallah, which says it is fighting for the rights of the mainly Sunni Baluchi minority, said on Friday the attack was revenge for the execution of its leader Abdulmalik Rigi in June in Zahedan.
His younger brother, Abdulhamid, was executed in May in Iran after being captured in Pakistan in 2008 and extradited to Iran.
The group gained attention six years ago after it launched a campaign of sporadic kidnappings and bombings that killed dozens. The group claims minority Sunni tribes in southeastern Iran suffer discrimination at the hands of Iran’s Shiite leadership.