Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned a fatal terror attack that targeted Iran's strategic port city of Chabahar, vowing that the Islamic Republic will bring the perpetrators and "their masters" to justice.
The top Iranian diplomat took to his Twitter page on Thursday to react to the car bomb attack, which he said was perpetrated by "foreign-backed terrorists."
Earlier in the day, a vehicle laden with explosives went off close to a police headquarters in Chabahar, situated in the southeastern province of Sistan-and-Baluchestan.
The terrorist behind the wheel was seeking to force his way into the police post, but failed to do so as local security forces quickly intervened.
At least two police officers lost their lives and some 40 other people sustained injuries in the explosion, which also killed the bomber.
The so-called Ansar al-Furqan terrorist group later claimed responsibility for the assault.
"As we've made clear in the past, such crimes won’t go unpunished: In 2010, our security services intercepted & captured extremists en route from UAE," Zarif wrote in the tweet.
He was apparently referring to a highly successful operation by Iranian intelligence services, which led to the capture in 2010 of Abdolmalek Rigi, the ringleader of the so-called Jundullah terror group. The extremist outfit under Rigi was dismantled and he was executed later that year.
That operation followed a 2009 terror attack by extremist terrorists that claimed over 40 lives in Sistan-and-Baluchestan Province.
"Mark my words: Iran WILL bring terrorists & their masters to justice," the foreign minister emphasized.
Sistan-and-Baluchestan -- which borders Pakistan -- has suffered several terror attacks targeting both civilians and security forces over the past years.
Iranian forces, from time to time, bust terrorist ringlets in the province, foiling their planned attacks and confiscating weapons and ammunition in the course of such security operations.
'Enemies seek chaos in Iran's biggest oceanic port'
Meanwhile, Rahmdel Bameri, caretaker of the Governor's Office in Chabahar County, underlined the strategic significance of the city as a free trade zone, which has a deep-water port on the Sea of Oman.
Chabahar is also the site of a port complex, which is being developed in cooperation with India as part of a new transportation corridor for landlocked Afghanistan.
Bameri added that such attacks are meant to "destabilize Chabahar, Iran's largest oceanic port, and disrupt the peaceful and friendly climate in there."
The perpetrators of such crimes will soon be identified and dealt with, he added.
"Given its exemption from US sanctions as well as its strategic location, Chabahar plays a significant part in the development of Sistan-and-Baluchestan Province and the eastern [transportation] corridor," Bameri said, adding, "Enemies have put destabilizing measures on their agenda to cause insecurity in this important region."
The official, however, emphasized that people in this area of Iran stand firmly united, and will foil all enemy plots.
Citing Afghanistan's economy, the US last approved a sanctions exemption for Chabahar when it re-imposed a second round of bans against Iran months after its withdrawal from a 2015 multilateral deal with Iran, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
More reactions come in
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi also denounced the "malicious and inhumane terror attack, which he said was aimed at disrupting Iran's economic development, which is underway in cooperation with regional states.
The terrorists behind the attack, he added, have been "propped up in the bosom of certain countries and centers promoting violence and extremism in the region," stressing that "a severe punishment" awaits them.
Separately, Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif, the spokesman of Iran's Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), vowed a "crushing response" not only to the terrorists who carried out the attack but also to the "groups backing them."
"The terrorist grouplets are mainly linked to foreign security services like those belonging to Saudi Arabia, and have constantly been seeking to destabilize our border regions," said the IRGC official.
In a message, Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri also said such terror attacks are intended to create a rift within the united ranks of Iranian people, but they are doomed to failure and will only strengthen the nation's national unity and convergence.
Such acts of violence will also "boost the Islamic Republic of Iran's resolve to fight terrorism," said Jahangiri, calling for all-out efforts to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli also issued a statement in condemnation of the Chabahar terror assault, saying the "savage attack" proved again that the "evil hegemonic system would spare no plot" to target the nation.
The US, the Israeli regime and "the terrorist governments in the region that support them" feel desperate and angry over the "shameful defeat" they have suffered in their attempts to strip the Iranian nation of their independence and freedom, he said.
That is why they have resorted to their stooges inside Iran in the hope of upsetting the country's stability, he added.
Pakistan became the first country to condemn the terror attack, with its Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammad Faisal, calling for "concerted efforts" to uproot terrorism and prevent its spread.
The Indian Foreign Ministry also deplored the attack and said, "We express our condolences to the government and the people of Iran and the families of the victims of this attack."
"We wish speedy recovery to those injured. The perpetrators behind this dastardly attack should be brought to justice expeditiously. There can be no justification for any act of terror," it said in a statement.
UK Ambassador to Tehran Robert Macaire also posted a tweet and said he was "appalled" by the terrorist attack.
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah also sent a message to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to decry the assault, offering condolences to the families of the martyrs.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry also condemned the attack.