Iran has been reported as the biggest exporter of terrorists and weapons for use by terrorism in the world.
It’s nice to see that they just received a significant dose of their own terrorist actions.
May more follow.
Iran’s “Vaunted Revolutionary Guard,” was apparently caught sleeping when the attack by assailants with assault rifles, grenades, and women’s disguises stunned Iran on Wednesday with audacious attacks on the Parliament building and tomb of its revolutionary founder, leaving at least 12 people dead and 42 wounded in the worst terrorist strike against the Islamic republic in years.
The attackers were killed.
File this one under: “When Good Things Happen to Bad People.”
If the Islamic State’s claim is true, that would be its first successful attack in Iran, which is predominantly Shiite Muslim and regarded by Sunni militants as a nation of heretics. Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria are helping battle the Islamic State.
Tensions in the Middle East were already high; after a visit by President Trump, Saudi Arabia and several Sunni allies led a regional effort on Monday to isolate Qatar, the one Persian Gulf country that maintains relations with Iran.
Expressions of sympathy for Iran from world leaders poured in after the assaults.
Be still my heart!
But hours elapsed before a condolence statement from the Trump administration, which has called Iran the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
“The United States condemns the terrorist attacks in Tehran today,” the State Department said.
“We express our condolences to the victims and their families, and send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Iran. The depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world.”
Of the 12 victims of the attacks, 11 died at the Parliament building, and one at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, father of the 1979 revolution. All of the six known assailants were killed, official media said: four at the Parliament, and two at the mausoleum. Five were men, and one mausoleum assailant was a woman.
The audacity of the assaults, and the hours it took to end them, suggested that Iranian security officials were hardly prepared. But officially, Iranian leaders sought to belittle the assailants and their acts, emphasizing that the Parliament chamber itself had never been breached.
“The Iranian nation is moving forward and advancing; even these firecrackers that were set off today will not impact our nation’s will; everyone must know this,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s supreme leader, said on his official website.
The attacks unfolded over several hours, starting around 10:30 a.m., when men armed with assault rifles and suicide vests — some of them dressed as women — descended on the Parliament building, killing at least one security guard, and wounding and kidnapping other people. The standoff lasted for about four hours.
The building has been undergoing renovations intended to enhance security, particularly at the entrance, but they have yet to be completed.
In a sign that elite security forces had encountered trouble containing the situation, one attacker left the Parliament an hour into the siege, then ran around shooting on Tehran’s streets before returning to the building — where at least one of the assailants blew himself up on the fourth floor as others continued firing from the windows.
“I cannot talk, I’m stuck here and the situation is really dangerous, the shooting is continuing, we are surrounded and I cannot talk,” an Iranian journalist, Ehsan Bodaghi, said by phone from inside the building during the standoff, before the call was disconnected. Yelling and screaming could be heard in the background.
Mohammad Ali Saki, editor of The Tehran Times, said in a phone interview that the four assailants at the Parliament building had “targeted guards, cleaners, employees of the administrative and finance sections,” but had “never got near the Parliament chamber itself.”
The assailants were armed with AK-47s and hand grenades and wore what appeared to be explosive vests, he said.
Mohammed Abasi, a photographer who arrived at the scene as the attack was unfolding, said he saw security forces “firing at the attackers from outside.” He added: “Some of the reporters and photographers who were there to cover the Parliament’s meeting were stuck inside, and then rescued later. From what I could tell, the representatives remained inside the hall.”
The attackers had evidently used the main entrance, catching the security forces by surprise. “They were intending on entering the main hall, but the security forces prevented that so they went into the offices in an adjacent building,” Mr. Abasi said. “Naturally, for a few hours a terrorist attack like this leaves a shock — our countrymen were killed, and this was a terrorist attack. But I already see that it is uniting Iranians — there is a sense of fight.”
The speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani, called the attacks a “minor incident,” saying that “some cowardly terrorists” had infiltrated the legislative complex and vowing that “the security forces will definitely take serious measures against them.”
The Islamic State released a graphic 24-minute video showing a bloodied man lying on the ground in Parliament while a gunman in the background shouted in Arabic, “Thank God! Do you think that we are going to leave? We will remain here, God willing.”
The assault on the mausoleum — about 10 miles south of Parliament — began shortly before 11 a.m. and lasted for about an hour and a half, state news media reported.
Credit Omid Vahabzadeh, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Two assailants entered the west wing of the sprawling compound, which houses the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of the 1979 revolution that established the Islamic Republic, and is a destination for tourists and religious pilgrims. According to local news agencies, at least one attacker detonated explosives in the western entrance. Another was reported to have committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill, although another account said that the militant had been shot to death by security forces.
Mohammed Ali Ansari, the overseer of the mausoleum, said that militants who appeared to have explosives strapped to them “started shooting blindly and without a target.”
The attacks, the first in Tehran in more than a decade, came just over two weeks after Mr. Trump, with Saudi Arabia and its allies, vowed to isolate Iran. Iran has dismissed those remarks, made at a summit meeting in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, as a scheme by Mr. Trump to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.
In the view of many in Iran, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is inextricably linked to Saudi Arabia. “ISIS ideologically, financially and logistically is fully supported and sponsored by Saudi Arabia — they are one and the same,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, a hard-line analyst.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are the leading nations on opposing sides of the Middle East split between Shiite and Sunni Islam. Iran has military advisers in Iraq and Syria, and it controls and finances militias in those countries and in Lebanon. Tehran also has some influence over the Houthis fighting the government in Yemen, and it often speaks out in support of Shiites in Bahrain, a majority group that Iran says is repressed by the Sunni monarchy.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of “spearheading global terrorism.” Saudi officials say Iran is plotting to control the region. Saudi Arabia, an autocratic kingdom, also opposes Iran’s political ideology, which has a clerical supreme leader but also a president, Parliament and City Councils, chosen in elections in which both men and women can participate.
On Wednesday morning, only hours before the attacks in Iran, the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said that Iran must be punished for its interference in the region and called Tehran the world’s leading supporter of terrorism.
Credit Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press
Iran, in turn, has long accused Saudi Arabia of backing terrorists in the region, saying that the kingdom had facilitated the rise of Sunni extremist groups such as the Islamic State and others in Iraq and Syria.
After Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other states cut ties with the gas-rich kingdom of Qatar on Monday, citing its support for Iran, Tehran rushed to fill the void, offering to send food and medicine.
One Iranian security official said the attacks had been a message from Saudi Arabia that was meant to teach Iran a lesson. He also said the assaults were intended to test Iran’s reaction.
Others questioned Tehran’s decision to rise to the defense of Qatar. “We are wrong to suddenly seek close ties with Qatar,” said Saeed Laylaz, an economist close to the government. “They have been bankrolling the Sunni terrorist groups, in the same way the Saudis have.”
While terrorist attacks have become relatively commonplace in Europe and in most of the Middle East, Iran had remained comparatively safe. During May’s election campaign, President Hassan Rouhani often pointed to that fact, lauding the country’s security forces and intelligence agencies for their vigilance.
The coordinated terrorist attacks on Wednesday brought such feelings of security to an end, one analyst said. “Today, it was proved that we are vulnerable too,” the analyst, Nader Karimi Joni, said.
Terrorism in Iran has been relatively rare, though for many years, the country suffered from a long and bitter campaign of attacks by an armed opposition group, Mujahedeen Khalq, a Marxist-Islamic organization that for decades was supported by the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. In many of Mujahedeen Khalq’s attacks, its members would take cyanide when cornered. In 2012, the group was taken off the United States’ list of terrorist organizations with the support of conservative Republican politicians.
Mokhtar Awad, a research fellow in the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, said the attacks in Tehran were an attempt by the Islamic State to finally address “one of the biggest talking points used against it in jihadi circles”: its perceived inability to attack Iran.
“They have been ridiculed for this for a long time,” Mr. Awad said. “This is going to help them reach out to a broader population of Salafis and jihadis who will now see that the Islamic State is genuinely fighting all the enemies of Islam.”
Mr. Awad also said that the attack could have been partly motivated by the Islamic State’s desire to claim victory somewhere new to raise morale after the blows that have been dealt to their bases in Iraq, Libya and Syria.