In his second intervention in 24 hours after attacks in Iran’s capital Tehran, the Supreme Leader has blamed “mercenaries” of enemies such as the US and Saudi Arabia.

Ayatollah Khamenei published a letter on Thursday asserting that the assaults inside the Parliament building and the shrine of the Islamic Republic’s founder, which killed 12 people and wounded more than 40, “are too trivial to break the determination of the Iranian nation….[We] will, God willing, march onwards with determination.” He continued:

[The attacks are] a clear sign of the vengeance and spiteful enmity of the arrogance’s mercenaries towards the honorable people of Iran as well as anything which has to do with the Revolution, Islamic establishment, and the late Supreme Leader Khomeini]….[They signal] the evil nature, and at the same time, the lowliness of their overseers, and also those ordering and perpetrating them.

Khamenei then made explicit whom he meant by the leaders of the “arrogance”, declaring that the attacks would result in more hatred towards the US Government and its regional “agents” such as Saudi Arabia.

Strikingly absent from the Supreme Leader’s rhetoric was the Islamic State, even though the movement has claimed the twin attacks — carried out by four assailants inside the Parliament and by a female suicide bomber and another attacker at the Khomeini mausoleum — and has been blamed by the Interior Ministry.

Instead, as he repeated lines from his Wednesday speech that “these fireworks…will have no impact on the people’s resolve”, Khamenei maintained the focus of the Revolutionary Guards on Washington and Riyadh. A series of Guards commanders asserted on Wednesday that the US and “the rulers of a regional reactionary regime” were behind “the bestial attacks”.

The Government has been more measured in its response. While President Rouhani said Iran’s enemies had attacked to “cover up their failures in the region, the collapse of Islamic values and public dissatisfaction in their countries”, his officials have put their emphasis on the Islamic State’s central role. Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi has also cautioned that it is too early to declare Saudi involvement.