12 dead in attacks on Iran parliament, Khomenei's mausoleum in Tehran

Published: June 7, 2017
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Members of Iranian civil defence run during an attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran, Iran, June 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Members of Iranian civil defence run during an attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran, Iran, June 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

TEHRAN: The Iranian Revolutionary Guard have issued a statement accusing Saudi Arabia of being behind Wednesday’s deadly attacks at the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran.

The accusation came in a statement issued a few hours after the attack.

Gunmen and suicide bombers stormed Iran’s parliament and the shrine of its revolutionary leader on Wednesday, killing 12 people in the first attacks in the country claimed by the Islamic State group.

Dozens of people were wounded in the attacks, which ended after a standoff lasting several hours as the gunmen holed up in parliamentary office buildings.

IS released a video of the attackers from inside the building via its Amaq propaganda agency – a rare claim of responsibility while an attack was still going on.

Police said all the attackers had been killed by around 3 pm (1030 GMT), some five hours after it started.

The IS considers Shia Iran to be apostates, and Tehran is deeply involved in fighting the group in both Syria and Iraq.

The assaults began mid-morning when four gunmen burst into the parliament complex in the centre of Tehran, killing a security guard and one other person, according to the ISNA news agency.

An interior ministry official said they were dressed as women and entered through the visitors’ entrance.

At roughly the same time, a team of three or four assailants entered the grounds of the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the 1979 Islamic revolution, killing a gardener and wounding several other people.

Iran’s emergency services said a total of 12 people were killed in the two attacks and 39 wounded.

Two of the attackers at the shrine, one of them a woman, blew themselves up, while another detonated a suicide vest on the fourth floor of the parliamentary office building.

A picture on social media showed police helping staff escape through windows.

Large crowds gathered around cordons to watch as police struggled to disperse the crowds.

Parliament was in session as the attacks unfolded and members were keen to show they were undeterred, continuing with regular business.

Some posted selfies of themselves looking calm, even as gun battles raged in surrounding office buildings and snipers took position on nearby rooftops.

Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed the attacks, saying they were a “trivial matter” and that security forces were dealing with them.

An official at Khomeini’s mausoleum in south Tehran said “three or four” people had entered via the western entrance and opened fire, according to the Fars news agency.

It published photos showing the suicide bomber blowing herself up outside.

The intelligence ministry said there had been a third “terrorist” team that was neutralised before the attacks started.

The city was on lockdown, with streets blocked and parts of the metro closed. Journalists were kept away from the shrine by police.

Interior Minister Abdolrahman Fazli told ISNA he had convened a special meeting of the country’s security council.

Militants have clashed frequently with security forces along Iran’s borders with Iraq and Afghanistan, but the country has largely escaped attacks within its urban centres.

The intelligence ministry said in June 2016 that it had foiled a plot to carry out multiple bomb attacks in Tehran and around the country.

IS published a rare video in Persian in March, warning that it “will conquer Iran and restore it to the Sunni Muslim nation as it was before.”

Iran, the predominant Shia power, has been helping both Iraq and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria to battle IS.

The group is under increasing pressure in both countries, having lost significant territory in the face of offensives now targeting its last two major urban bastions, Raqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that attacks by IS in Europe and elsewhere showed that Western policies in the Middle East have backfired.

“This is a fire that (Western powers) themselves ignited and now has backfired on them,” he told a gathering of senior officials in Tehran.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • sphire
    Jun 7, 2017 - 12:06PM

    they interfere in affairs of every country,israeel,six gulf states,iraq,yemen,syria,lebanon.forgot to tell azerbaijan,turkey and always. in pakistan.not finish yet azbakistan,tajikastan,turkmanistan the countaries in caspean region over caspean sea dispute, and their best friends afghanistan.they still think oh yeah baghdad,basra are their cities.they still tell all central asian republics that they are persians and should love farsiRecommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jun 7, 2017 - 1:12PM

    Iran is not a timid country. I will advise all Muslim countries to be wary of this nuclear power. they have already promised a blood bath in entire world barring Mecca and Madina . be warned. Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Jun 7, 2017 - 1:40PM

    Pakistan should not pick sides in this case. Wait and watch while these Arabs and Persians fight it out.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jun 7, 2017 - 1:46PM

    @Bunny Rabbit:
    You are right. If the Iranians had any interest in playing cricket, they would be able to take on India in short order, at least give them a run (pun intended) for their money.Recommend

  • Atif
    Jun 7, 2017 - 1:55PM

    All we can do is hope the terrorists don’t have links with Pakistan.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 7, 2017 - 2:31PM

    The Iranians will unravel the dimensions of the plot quite fast. We need to see whether this was a lone wolf attack or had foreign sponsors. Situation can deteriorate very fast once the culprits are identified.Recommend

  • Frank
    Jun 7, 2017 - 2:37PM

    Iran has destroyed the Middle East in the last decade. The chickens are coming home to roost now.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Jun 7, 2017 - 3:56PM

    This terror attack in the heart of Iran might have very fatal consequences.Recommend

  • muhammad
    Jun 7, 2017 - 5:09PM

    Time for Saudi Arabia to be shown the way to Muhammadi ArabiaRecommend

  • Faisal
    Jun 7, 2017 - 5:29PM

    @Bunny Rabbit:
    stick to your Indian movies. India has NO role whatsoever in the Middle East and never will. Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jun 7, 2017 - 5:34PM

    What goes around comes around. Since the 1979 “Islamic Revolution” Iran actively destabilized many countries in the zeal of the “shia awakening”: bombs in Kuwait, shia militias in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain armed and funded by Iran, Shia militants within the TJP in Pakistan trained in Iran and caused life and property damage in Pakistan in the early 1980s; Similarly in Afghanistan, and then actively destabilizing Lebanon further by creating Hezbollah and creating fiefdoms within Lebanon, actively kidnapping people and asking for ransom; same in Yemen by arming Houthis who threw away the elected govt and killed hundreds of civilians in the process, and the list goes on and on.
    You reap what you sow. Recommend

  • sphire
    Jun 7, 2017 - 5:44PM

    Lebanon,israil,saudiarabia,yemen,syria,iraq,six gulf states,pakistan,azerbaijan,turkey faced iran’s direct interference.they support hizbullah to attack israil,in return Lebanon suffers again and again.their roll in saudiarabia and gulf states everyone knows.they are sending and training voluntaries to Syria.how about Iraq,how about Azerbaijan they control half of their country,they are turks,on going clashes on the border.had war with turkey over azeries,as they are turks tried to liberate Azerbaijan.iran also have disputes in caspean region.trouble only trouble,,,massive interference in Pakistan.thir interference in Russian affairs in caucuses…leave for next time.look at iran through this windowRecommend

  • vasan
    Jun 7, 2017 - 6:57PM

    Is the much touted “Clash of the civilizations?” , I mean, Persians Vs ArabsRecommend

  • bogus
    Jun 7, 2017 - 10:23PM

    I wonder how long it will take before Iran blames the American’s?Recommend

  • Shah S
    Jun 7, 2017 - 11:08PM

    @sphire:
    Actually, if you read history… I mean history of the last 10,000 years or so … Persians have always been the enemy… as they never consider anyone else their friends and they think all are wrong and against them… It is in their genes and they cannot change; Always they have been defeated as they stand alone; They dont get it;; and still dont get it; Recommend

  • Trollslayer
    Jun 8, 2017 - 12:11AM

    @ Sphire and Shah S

    I wonder why Iqbal wrote poems and essays in Persian and why the Pakistani national anthem is in Persian or why streets in Karachi are called khiyaban instead of sarak and why Pakistanis name their sons Asfandyar, Afrasiab, Jamshed, Khusrow and their daughters Shireen, Mahgul, Mahnaaz or Mahwash.

    I will tell you why, because their civilization is superior.Recommend

  • Sexton
    Jun 8, 2017 - 3:07AM

    @Shah S:
    I wonder how I got it so wrong. Most of the West and Arab states are roaming around the world killing people. However, Iran is not attacking anybody, is being attacked, and you suggest that Iranians are the bad guys. Unbelievable.Recommend

  • VINOD
    Jun 8, 2017 - 5:36AM

    It seems that these terror attacks are a reply to the threats given by Afghanistan and Iran to Pakistan a few days ago. The attack on the parliament of Iran reminds of attack on parliament of India and note in Afghanistan Indian embassy was also Included.Recommend

  • Trollslayer
    Jun 8, 2017 - 8:32AM

    Iran is a nation of educated, sophisticated, enlightened, progressive and patriotic people that are making giant leaps in all sectors of development; in stark contrast all 22 Arab states are languishing in an arrested state of mental development under authoritarian and corrupt regimes that sealed their doomed fates by signing the Faustian Bargain with their respective patrons.

    Iran’s glorious history and civilization informs and guides its people to engage in good thoughts, good words and good deeds. The mystical literature of Rumi, Hafez, Saadi and Khayyam is a testament to the sufi temperament of Persians.

    Persians are the vanguards of the Muslim world, their ancient identity and culture continues to inform their current trajectory towards another period of enlightenment and renaissance in a continuum from antiquity to modern times. Recommend

  • PB02
    Jun 8, 2017 - 9:16AM

    @Faisal:
    Just replace “Iran” with “Pakistan” and your comment fits perfectly with what has gone wrong with your country. Funny you can look rationally at others but when it comes to your own country it is the fault of every agency under the Sun,not yours.
    You reap what you sow, indeedRecommend

  • Trollslayer
    Jun 8, 2017 - 11:07AM

    Iran is a nation of educated, sophisticated, enlightened, progressive and patriotic people that are making giant leaps in all sectors of development; in stark contrast all 22 Arab states are languishing in an arrested state of mental development under authoritarian and corrupt regimes that sealed their doomed fates by signing the Faustian Bargain with their respective patrons.

    Iran’s glorious history and civilization informs and guides its people to engage in good thoughts, good words and good deeds. The mystical literature of Rumi, Hafez, Saadi and Khayyam is a testament to the sufi temperament of Persians.

    Persians are the vanguards of the Muslim world, their ancient identity and culture continues to inform their current trajectory towards another period of enlightenment and renaissance in a continuum from antiquity to modern times.

    @ Sexton
    Ditto!Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jun 8, 2017 - 11:32AM

    @Trollslayer:
    u don’t have a clue of what you are talking about. Do you know that 90% of Paksitan names, male and female are Arabic!!! Obviously you don’t know that. You pick a handful of “iranian” names and ignore the all too common and dominating Arabic names in our society: Faisal, Abdullah, Khalid, Usman, Omar, Ali, Hasan, Hussain, etc. etc.
    Also, Iqbal wrote in Arabic and “Persian” (its called Farsi). Before the ruling Muslims of South Asia made the fatal mistake of taking a dip in Hindustani culture, the default language for the conquering Muslims was Arabic for around 200 to 300 years and then Persian for another 300 years. Then the Mughals did a disastrous experiment and egged on by the British, Urdu was introduced and pushed relentlessly amongst the masses, including the elite Muslim ruling class and the end result was another disaster where sanskrit was “softened” and Urdu words added to it and Urdu was “softened” and sanskrit/hindi verbs increasingly added to it. This served the colonial power very well as they could easily sheperd a large population.
    To this day we remain addicted to frivolous Indian movies due to the “hindustani language” which is a fusion of Urdu and Hindi.
    But a day will come soon when the jig is up and the music stops in this game of musical chair and then when Pakistan finds it natural social, cultural, linguistic equilibrium, that will be the day that India’s soft power will be substantially reduced by upto 80%. Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jun 8, 2017 - 11:34AM

    @PB02:
    Indian, go back to your Indian movies. You have no business in the Middle East or the greater Middle East (which will soon include Pakistan and Afghanistan). Recommend

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