Iran expressed its worries about “terrorism” on Wednesday, as it confirmed three guards were killed by gunmen on the Iraq border.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said, “Causing insecurity, disrupting democratic trends, overcoming ballot boxes, imposing weapons and terror rather than (promoting) democratic trends — all of these suggest that terrorism is being used today as a tool to overcome people’s votes.”
Afkham repeated Tehran’s charge that “certain countries and circles are using terrorism as a lever to achieve their ominous interests and objectives in the region”, without naming those countries.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns the ominous phenomenon of terrorism and believes the first method to counter and eradicate it is for the regional nations to remain vigilant and for countries to boost national unity, and for the international community to pay serious and unbiased attention to this scourge facing the human community,” Afkham asserted.
The three guards, including a checkpoint commander, were shot while they were on patrol in the town of Solas Babajani in Kermanshah Province in western Iran on Tuesday night.
No group has claimed responsibility, and a “security source” said the attack was not connected to the insurgency in Iraq.
He added that “no Takfiri militants have entered Iran so far”.
A senior officer in Iran’s ground forces, General Ali Arasteh, assured on Wednesday morning, “We are on the alert in the South and Southeast.”
Parliament Passes Criminal Penalties for Birth Control and Abortion
Parliament has passed legislation criminalizing “abortion, sterilization, vasectomies, tubectomies, and any promotion of childbirth reduction”, with sentences of two to five years in prison.
The measure was passed 106-72 with 8 abstentions.
MPs also commanded the Islamic Guidance and Culture Ministry to identify those “spreading propaganda” for birth control.
Following the 1979 Revolution, Iran implemented a successful population-control program; however, in recent years, Iran’s Supreme Leader has reversed his earlier support for limiting births, announcing that all forms of birth control had to be scrapped so the country could meet its capacity for a significant population increase.
Interior Minister Warned by Parliament About Women’s Leggings
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has been warned by Parliament that he is not doing enough to stop women from wearing leggings.
Fazli was summoned by MPs on Tuesday about the enforcement of Iran’s dress code.
“Why is the Interior Ministry indifferent to the phenomenon of women who wear supports (leggings) in Tehran and other cities?” MPs challenged.
Fazli was also asked why a “small budget” earmarked to enforce the dress code had been eliminated.
The Minister said the Interior Ministry is only one of 22 entities responsible for enforcing the dress code. He said that the budgetary issue was being resolved and that non-governmental organizations had been created fro dress-code supervision at department stores, airports, and student dormitories.
The assurances were not enough to convince the lawmakers, who gave Fazli a “yellow-card” warning.
Islamic State of Iraq Frees 73 Iranian Pilgrims
An Iranian official said Wednesday that 73 Iranian pilgrims have been released by the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham.
The pilgrims were captured near Samarra, the site of two holy shrines, by ISIS on June 15, the official said.
Foreign Ministry: Head of Qods Force is Not in Iraq
The Foreign Ministry has maintained Tehran’s denial that the head of the elite Qods Force has been in Iraq advising political and military officials and inspecting frontlines.
“No military official, specially General Qassem Soleimani, is in Iraq and these reports are untrue,” spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham maintained.
A range of sources, including some well-placed EA contacts, say that Soleimani has been in Baghdad and on frontlines such as Samarra, north of the capital and home to two Shia shrines.
Other reports claim that two battalions of the Qods Force, part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, are in Iraq and have been joined by Basij militia.
Afkham also denied comments by the Iraqi military spokesman, General Qassim Atta, that Iran had returned 130 Iraqi jet fighters which Tehran had held since the 1991 Gulf War.