ISIS Attacks in Tehran Directed at ‘Symbols of Power,’ Iranian Expert Says
The Islamic State terrorist attacks in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday were intended “to target the symbolic centers of power” in the Shiite Islamic Republic, an Iranian expert on the Middle East told The Algemeiner.
Saeed Ghasseminejad — an Iran fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank in Washington, DC — said the main goal of the attacks, executed by ISIS suicide bombers and gunmen who took the lives of twelve people and wounded 42 more, “was not to maximize the death toll but to target the symbolic centers of power: Ayatollah Khomeini’s shrine and the Iranian Parliament.”
Khomeini was the founder of the Islamic Republic during the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and remains the most important political and religious symbol of the theocratic Tehran regime.
ISIS claimed responsibility for both attacks via a statement on the Amaq news agency, its principal online propaganda arm. The terrorist group also posted a video clip of the assault on the Iranian Parliament, accompanied by a statement saying, “Do you think we will leave? We will remain, God willing,” news agencies reported.
Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) blamed Saudi Arabia for the attack. Tensions between Riyadh and Tehran have escalated in the weeks following US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region last month. This week, the barbs intensified as the Saudis led a number of Arab states in breaking ties with Qatar in part because of the emirate’s alignment with Iran.
“The IRGC said it would take revenge on the terrorists and those who had given them the order,” Ghasseminejad noted.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s second-in-command, declared after the attacks, “We will remain steadfast in fighting terrorists and we will surely take revenge on terrorists, their affiliates and their supporters for the blood of the martyrs of today’s two terrorist attacks.”
The US State Department condemned the ISIS attacks. “The depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world,” it said in a statement.
Ghasseminejad warned it was likely the IRGC would respond to Wednesday’s atrocities “by targeting Saudis inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or in other countries through its various proxies in the region, or through its agents outside the region.”