On Wednesday morning, the Iranian capital Tehran was rocked by twin terrorist attacks carried out by armed gunman and suicide bombers — one at the parliament and one at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Twelve were announced dead immediately and at least 42 others were wounded.
ISIS quickly claimed credit for the attacks, but a commander in Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement that Saudi Arabia is behind the deadly attacks.
Iran is a Shia Muslim nation, ISIS is Sunni — if ISIS did carry out these attacks, it would be the first time ISIS has struck inside Iran itself. Proxy battles between these two groups are playing out in Syria and Iraq, where Iranian-backed groups have clashed with ISIS fighters. But Iran itself has not experienced a terror attack in years.
Tensions in the region are not simply between ISIS and Iran. Just yesterday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was quoted by a number of regional news outlets as calling Iran the primary supporter of terror in the region.
What we know so far:
- BBC reports that four attackers who stormed the parliament were shot dead. They wielded Kalashnikovs, according to the Independent, and began shooting while parliament was in session.
- Reports indicate the attackers dressed as women to avoid detection.
- Pir Hossein Kolivand, Iran’s emergency services chief, initially told the press at least 40 were wounded, a number that has since risen to 42 with 12 dead, according to Iranian state press as reported by the Independent.
- At about 10:40 am Tehran time, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini. BBC reports that the suicide bomber was a woman, but the Guardian has cautioned that the attacker may have been simply dressed as a woman.
- ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has promoted a video from inside parliament.
#IS official media has now released video from *inside* the Iranian Parliament building in #Tehran. Another game-changer.— Charlie Winter (@charliewinter) June 7, 2017
- That said, ISIS’s role is still unconfirmed.
- "Some coward terrorists infiltrated one of the buildings of parliament. They were confronted. It was not a major issue. Our security forces have taken necessary steps," the Independent reported Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said on Iranian state television.