Iran’s authorities have carried out dozens of arrests as the victims of Wednesday’s twin attacks in Tehran were buried yesterday.
The Intelligence Ministry claimed in two statements that it had prevented further attacks with the detention of 48 “elements” of the Islamic State, after “sophisticated intelligence operations and with the cooperation of the families of some of the terrorists”. The arrests were carried out in the provinces of Kermanshah, Kordestan, and West Azarbaijan as well as Tehran.
The Ministry said a “huge amount” of weapons, bomb materials, explosive belts, communication equipment, and forged documents were found. State TV broadcast images of the detentions of some of the men.
At least 17 people were killed and almost 50 injured in the attacks on the Parliament building and the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini. All four assailants in the Parliament assault were slain, as were the female suicide bomber and another attacker at the Khomeini mausoleum.
The Islamic State soon claimed responsibility for its first major operations inside Iran, and the Interior Ministry also declared that ISIS was behind the attacks.
Senior Officials at Funeral Ceremonies
As victims were buried on Friday, President Hassan Rouhani and senior officials attended a ceremony at the Parliament building honoring the dead.
Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, Judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani, and the head of the Supreme Leader’s office, Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, were also present.
Rouhani again framed the assaults as a response to a large turnout in the May 19 election which gave his Government a second term: “[They] were an act of revenge against democracy….Whenever the nation scores a victory, ill-wishers work to deliver a blow to the country and the nation.”
He declared that “people will find their own path to national goals and unity, and the nation will undoubtedly emerge victorious”.
“A Saudi-Israel-US Project”
Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards continued to look beyond the Islamic State to portray the attacks as a “joint Saudi-Israel-US project”.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, said in a televised interview that the three powers were lashing out because of their failures before Iranian power in the region:
While the Americans, the Saudis, some reactionary regional countries and Westerners were trying to tip the regional equations in their own favor and threaten the Islamic Republic’s establishment, they didn’t manage to act out their plans in Syria and Iraq, and suffered defeat in regional political disputes.
The Saudis’ regional policies have completely been defeated, while Daesh’s turf has dwindled and is on the verge disappearance.
He continued, “We are extraordinarily powerful. We have everything at our disposal and enjoy a variety of options. If anyone seeks to disrupt our national security, we won’t leave him any safe spot.”
The Guards’ rhetoric bolsters the line of the Supreme Leader, who has also set aside ISIS to focus on the US and Saudi Arabia. In a Wednesday speech and a Thursday letter, Ayatollah Khamenei said the attacks were a “clear sign of the vengeance and spiteful enmity of the arrogance’s mercenaries”, showing “the evil nature and…the lowliness” of Washington and Riyadh.