Twin Attacks in Tehran Claimed by ISIS

June 7, 2017
Updated

On June 7, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked Iran’s parliament and late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum. The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, claimed responsibility for both attacks, the first in Tehran in more than a decade. At least 17 were killed and 52 were injured, according to initial reports. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said it held Saudi Arabia responsible for the group’s actions.

One woman and one man entered the mausoleum grounds around 10:30 A.M. local time. The woman blew herself up with an explosive vest and the man died in a firefight with security forces. Around the same time, four gunmen, reportedly disguised as women, opened fire on security guards at the visitors’ hall of parliament. They took at least four people but were killed before they could enter the office building. One attacker reportedly blew himself up on the fourth floor, according to an Interior Ministry source.

The exact details are not clear because multiple sources have given slightly different accounts of the events and aftermath. The Tehran police chief later said authorities arrested suspects. One woman was reportedly arrested at the mausoleum. The National Security Council said that the assailants were Iranian. The Intelligence Ministry confirmed that the five men had left Iran to fight for ISIS in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. They returned to Iran in August 2016, but fled the country after their leader, whose nom de guerre was Abu Aisha, was killed. They returned at a later point to launch the recent attacks. The six assailants who were killed were reportedly from western Iran. The woman who was captured is from southern Iran, according to Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

 

ISIS claimed credit for the attack while the four-hour siege inside parliament was unfolding. “Fighters from the Islamic State attacked the shrine of Khomeini and the Iranian parliament building in the center of Tehran,” the group said in a message published by its Amaq news agency. The group also released a video from inside parliament. "Oh God, thank you... Do you think we will leave? No! We will remain, God willing," one attacker shouted. It was a slogan used by ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al Adnani, who was killed in Syria in 2016.

 

At least four of the attackers were reportedly from Paveh, a Sunni Kurdish town in Kermanshah province, western Iran. Serias Sadeghi, who was identified by the Intelligence Ministry, was a known ISIS recruiter. In 2014, a Kurdish opposition group published a report warning about increased ISIS activities in Iranian Kurdistan, including his efforts.

ISIS has recently ramped up its anti-Iran messaging. In March 2017, it released a rare Farsi-language video threatening the Islamic Republic. ISIS encouraged Sunnis living in Iran to rebel against the regime and warned that it “will conquer Iran and restore it to the Sunni Muslim nation as it was before.” Since then, ISIS has published four issues of its online magazine “Rumiyah” (Rome) in Farsi. ISIS views Shiites, who account for some 90 percent of Iran’s population, as apostates. Iran has been heavily involved in the fight against ISIS in Iraq, and to a lesser extent, Syria.

 

Iranian leaders downplayed the significance of the attacks. Some lawmakers even took selfies as they waited for security forces to deal with the terrorists.

 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that “the fumbling with firecrackers in Tehran won’t affect the will of the nation.” Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani said the terrorists were cowards and that the attacks were a “minor issue.” His fellow lawmakers responded to his remarks by shouting “Death to America.” Many Iranian leaders have accused Washington of supporting ISIS.

The attacks could have economic implications for Iran, which is still slowly recovering from years of sanctions. The Tehran Stock Exchange’s main index lost 535 points, or 0.67 percent, in the hours immediately following the attacks. The incidents follow the reelection of President Hassan Rouhani, who has promoted tourism and presented Iran as a safe and stable country in an otherwise volatile region.

 

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Iran

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

 

 

The terrorist incidents – which occurred in our late Imam's Holy Shrine and in the Islamic Consultative Majlis (Parliament) on the 12th day of the auspicious month of Ramadan, leading to the martyrdom of a number of dear individuals, while they were fasting, and the injury of an even greater number of people – are a clear sign of the vicious grudge and enmity of arrogant mercenaries towards the dignified people of Iran, and towards everything that is related to the Revolution, to the Islamic Republic, and to its late honorable leader. Such crimes – which are suggestive of the malevolence and at the same time lowliness of the perpetrators – are too trivial to undermine the determination of the Iranian nation. The definite outcome of such a course of action is nothing but an increase in hatred towards the U.S. government and its agents in the region – the likes of Saudi Arabia.


The Iranian nation will move forward with unity and with firm determination, God willing. I wish to commemorate the martyrs of this incident, and I express my congratulations and condolences to their families. I ask Allah the Exalted to cure the injured and the casualties of this incident.

June 7, 2017, in a statement

 

President Hassan Rouhani

“Great Iranian nation and brave men and women of this land; you have paid the price of your dignity, independence, and freedom alongside great conspiracies from savage terrors to the imposed war with sacrifice and martyrdom of your children. The insensitive, cowardly actions today by terrorist mercenaries in killing a number of innocent, fasting people near the tomb of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and “House of People” is not an unexpected incident.

“About four decades after the formation of the Islamic Revolution and the crystallisation of “religious democracy”, today's Iran has realised all elements of national power. Today, Iran is the most secure country at the heart of a turbulent region thanks to the brilliant leadership of the Supreme Leader and also the authority and integrity of the security, defense, intelligence and law enforcement forces. On the other hand, people's unparalleled attendance in the elections once again proved national integrity and peoples support.

“It is natural that the enemies of the Islamic Iran do not tolerate the honours and unity between the government, administration and nation, hiring and supporting retrogressive and takfiri elements in an attempt to hide the collapse of Islamic values and dissatisfactions in their own societies, unaware of the fact that we have passed this test and the Iranian nation, which is acts based on the culture of Ashura, will prove again this time that it will shatter any conspiracy and plots by the enemies with more unity and integrity and its powerful security system.

“Without a doubt, today's terrorist attacks in Tehran will further strengthen the Islamic Iran's resolve in its combat against regional terrorism, extremism and violence more than before. Iran's message, like always, has been that terrorism is a universal problem and unity in fighting extremism, violence and terrorism with regional and international cooperation is the most important need of today's global community.

“I hereby express my condolences to the bereaved families who lost their loved ones in these terrorist attacks during the month of God's feast, asking the Almighty the highest places for the martyrs, patience and reward for the bereaved families and swift recovery for the injured.

“It is obvious that the powers, organs and security organisations will not abandon attempt until all aspects of the insensitive action and their overt and covert supporters are identified.”

June 7, 2017, in a message to the public

 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

“Terrorism is a problem that we are facing in the Middle East region and the world.”

“The entire region has become insecure and we condemn the blind act.”

June 7, 2017, to reporters upon arriving in Turkey

 

Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani

“Iran is an active and effective hub for combating terrorism, and terrorists wish to undermine such activities.”

“Today several cowardly terrorists penetrated into the parliament building and were dealt with seriously.”

“The [terrorist] act is a minor issue.”

June 7, at an open session of parliament, according to Mehr News and Tasnim News

 

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi

The “fingerprints of Saudi Arabia are visible when it comes to backing terrorists in Syria and Iraq. But in this case, because we don’t want to make comments that aren’t backed by facts, it’s too soon to say whether it came from Saudi.”

June 7, 2017, according to the Iranian Students News Agency via Bloomberg

 

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Brigadier General Hossein Salami

“We will take revenge on terrorists and their supporters who martyred our people.”

June 7, 2017, according to Reuters

 

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps

“[T]hose who have aided and abetted the Daesh terror group are accomplices in twin attacks claimed by the Takfiri group.”

The timing of the attacks, which occurred soon after President Donald Trump’s meeting with “the rulers of a regional reactionary regime,” (in Saudi Arabia) indicates that “they have a hand in the bestial attacks.”

June 7, 2017, in a statement, according to PressTV

 

Iranian Interior Ministry

“On Wednesday, two terrorist teams simultaneously tried to conduct blind terrorist acts in the vicinity of the Mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, and also in Iran’s Parliament.

“The first terrorist team consisted of two people who entered the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum at around 10:30 a.m. One of them blew up her vest and the second was killed in a fire exchange with security forces.

“The second team was composed of four people, who concurrently with the first team, tried to enter the administrative building of the Parliament. Facing reaction from the security forces, one of them detonated his vest and the three others were killed in a shoot-out with the police forces while trying to reach the upper floors of the parliament building.

“Based on reports, 12 people have been killed and 42 other injured in these two incidents.

“At the moment, both events are over and everything is fully under the control of security and military forces. Further news of these events will subsequently be published.

“To verify the details and exact dimensions of the two incidents, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council will hold a meeting chaired by the Interior Minister later on Wednesday.

“In order to prevent the spread of false news, it is advised that all the media outlets avoid publishing unofficial news.”

June 7, 2017, in a statement, according to Iran Front Page News

 

The United States

President Donald Trump

We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times. We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

June 7, 2017, in a statement

 

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert

The United States condemns the terrorist attacks in Tehran today. 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.

June 7, 2017, in a statement

 

Russia

President Vladimir Putin

"The Russian leader strongly condemned this attack which once again emphasized the need to boost international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.” He also "confirmed Russia’s readiness for further joint efforts with Iran in this field."

"Putin conveyed his sympathy and support to the families of the victims, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.”

June 7, 2017, in a statement on a message sent to President Rouhani

 

Syria

Foreign Ministry

Such “terrorist attacks backed by well-known countries and circles will not discourage Syria and Iran from continuing their fight against terrorism that is supported by countries and parties known in the region and beyond.”

June 7, 2017, in a statement

 

United Arab Emirates

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash

“Our position on terrorism is very clear ... Any terrorist attack in any country, in any capital, directed at innocent people is something that the UAE abhors and the UAE condemns.”

June 7, 2017, to Agence France Press

 

Qatar

Foreign Ministry

The State of Qatar has condemned and denounced the two attacks which took place in Iranian capital Tehran and left many people killed and injured.

In a statement today, the Foreign Ministry expressed Qatar’s firm stance against violence and its rejection of criminal acts.

The statement expressed Qatar’s condolences to the government and people of Iran and to the families and victims, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

June 7, 2017, in a press release

 

UN Security Council

UN Security Council

Council President Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attacks which took place in Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, on 7 June, during which at least 50 people were killed or injured, for which Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) has claimed responsibility.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the people of Iran. They wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and stressed that those responsible for these terrorist attacks should be held accountable.

The members of the Security Council stressed the need to take measures to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, terrorist organizations and individual terrorists in accordance with resolutions 2199 (2015) and 2253 (2015).”

June 7, 2017, in a statement

Spokesman for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the terrorist attacks on the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the Parliament (Majlis) building in Tehran today. He extends his sincere condolences to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General hopes those responsible for this unjustifiable violence will be swiftly brought to justice. All countries must work together in fighting terrorism while upholding the universal rights and values that bind the global community.”

June 7, 2017, in a statement

 

Germany

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel

“I condemn the attacks in the Iranian parliament building and at the mausoleum of revolutionary leader Khomeini in the strongest possible terms. Once again, unscrupulous criminals have killed many innocent people.

When terror knows no bounds, there must be no limits to our empathy and humanity. We share in the grief of the people in Iran. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims. We hope that the many people injured will make a swift and full recovery.”

June 7, 2017, in a statement

 

Pakistan

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“The Government of Pakistan has strongly condemned today's terrorist attacks on Iranian Parliament and mausoleum of Imam Khomeini in which, reportedly, precious lives of innocent people have been lost. We stand in solidarity with the people of Iran in their hour of grief.

We offer our deep condolences to the people of Iran, the Government, and the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.

Pakistan condemns terrorism, which is a global phenomenon and common challenge, requiring resolute and coordinated approach to deal with the menace.”

June 7, 2017, in a statement

 

Speaker of Pakistan National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq

“The government and entire nation of Pakistan are standing with their Iranian brethren in the hour of grief.”

“Terrorism has become a global issue and no country is safe from this menace.”

June 7, 2017, in a phone call with Ali Larijani, according to IRNA

 

India

Ministry of External Affairs

In a prescheduled telephone conversation with Foreign Minister of Iran H.E. Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, External Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj condemned today's terrorist attacks on institution of democracy and spirituality in Tehran. She offered sincere condolences on loss of innocent lives and expressed solidarity with the people and the government of Iran.

June 7, 2017, in a press release

 

France

Foreign Ministry

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the attacks on the Iranian Parliament and the tomb of Imam Khomeini in Tehran.

We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

We are closely following developments in the situation, in conjunction with our embassy there.”

June 7, 2017, in a Q&A from France’s Daily Press Briefing

 

The United Kingdom

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson

 

 

Jordan

State Minister for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani

State Minister for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani voiced Jordan's condemnation of the terrorist attacks that took place in the Iranian capital Tehran today.

The minister stressed Jordan's constant stance that rejects all acts of terrorism that target civilians and the stability of countries.

He also offered the government's condolences to the Iranian government and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

June 7, 2017, in a press release according to Petra News

 

Australia

Foreign Minster Julie Bishop

The Australian Government denounces in the strongest possible terms the terror attacks carried out in Iran on Wednesday 7 June.

We understand that ISIS has claimed responsibility for this appalling act, which has reportedly killed at least 12 people and injured many more.

We extend our deep condolences and sympathy for the victims and their families, and the Iranian people.

I have spoken to our Ambassador in Tehran who has confirmed that all Embassy staff are safe.

The Australian Embassy in Tehran is monitoring the situation closely and is in contact with Iranian authorities to determine whether any Australians have been affected.”

June 8, 2017, in a statement

Photo credits: Homepage photo of Iranian security forces by Erfan Kouchari via Tasnim (CC BY 4.0)
 
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