updated 8/18/2007 4:30:17 PM ET 2007-08-18T20:30:17

An Iranian military helicopter slammed into a mountain during a storm, killing at least six people, including five members of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards, state media reported Saturday.

Five other military men were reported wounded. The crash occurred during military maneuvers near the town of Piranshahr in the Kurdish region of Iran along the border with Iraq, 435 miles west of the capital Tehran.

“The crash occurred when the helicopter ran into a mountain due to a storm,” state radio said. The official Islamic Republic News Agency said the crash occurred Friday. Funeral services for the dead men were held in Piranshahr on Saturday.

IRNA said five were with the Revolutionary Guards, a powerful, influential unit that the Bush administration is said to be considering blacklisting as a “terrorist” organization.

Washington has accused the Guards of supporting militias and insurgent groups attacking U.S. forces in Iraq — charges Iran denies.

Iranian newspapers reported Saturday that Guards leader Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi said the group would not bow to U.S. pressure and threatened to “punch” America in the future.

The mountainous border region has in recent years been the scene of sporadic clashes between Iranian forces and Kurdish opposition groups, particularly the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, known as PEJAK. PEJAK wants autonomy for Iran’s Kurds due to alleged government discrimination.

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