US condemns attacks that killed 12 in Iran

Cheryl Sanders
June 8, 2017

The Islamic State group claimed a pair of attacks Wednesday on Iran's parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which have killed two security guards and wounded more than 30 people, with the siege at the legislature still underway.

"(Iran is) a mortal enemy of the Islamic State, not just for the differences in theology, but because of the fighting in Iraq and Syria", said Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal.

Iran - with its largely Shiite population - has been involved in military actions against Sunni terrorist groups such as ISIS, who regard Shiites as apostates, but such terror attacks in the country are rare. One detonated a bomb and the second was killed in a firefight with security forces.

Separate attacks shattered Tehran on June 7.

However, the regular sessions of the Parliament were not interrupted.

He said Riyadh had no knowledge of who was responsible for the attacks, and denied that Saudi groups were behind it.

One of the assailants is believed to have blown himself up on the fourth floor.

CNN has not independently verified the number of victims in both attacks and it was not immediately clear whether the number of dead included the suicide bombers.

An Associated Press reporter saw several police snipers on the roofs of nearby buildings. Police helicopters circled the parliament and all mobile phone lines from inside were disconnected.

Shops in the area were closed as gunfire rang out and officials urged people to avoid public transportation.

Of the 12 victims of the attacks, 11 died at the parliament building, and one at the mausoleum.

"I was passing by one of the streets".

"They [hardliners] are very angry and will use every opportunity to grow in strength to isolate Rouhani", said one of them. "With the help of a taxi driver, I reached a nearby alley".

Policemen deploying in the main hall of Iranian parliament to protect lawmakers during the attack which targeted the complex Wednesday. He led the revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979 and was Iran's leader for 10 years. "Our security forces have taken necessary steps", Speaker Ali Larijani said.

The IRGC also pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia and threatened revenge. For its part, Iran has cited Saudi Arabia's support for jihadists and its backing of hard-line Sunni fighters in Syria.

The attack will also undoubtedly raise tensions even higher in the region, coming days after Iran's Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia moved to isolate Qatar, the sole Gulf nation that maintains relations with Iran.

The Latest on developments in Washington on Iran. Iran supports both countries in their fight against IS.

By choosing the burial site of Iran's revered revolutionary leader, and the national legislative forum, the attackers picked highly symbolic targets.

A potentially greater issue for the US than more fiery rhetoric between Tehran and Riyadh, however, is if Iran decides to pursue a greater role intervening in Iraq and Syria in response to the attacks. Senior U.S. commanders have testified that some 500 U.S. soldiers and Marines had been killed in Iraq as a result of "Iranian activities".

The other said the attacks, and speculation over who backed them, would push Iran toward "a harsher regional policy".

Other reports by iNewsToday