Twin attacks on the Iranian parliament in Tehran and across town at Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum claimed the lives of at least 12 people and injured 42 others on Wednesday. Four gunmen dressed as women stormed the parliament building with an ensuing standoff lasting over five hours; one suicide bomber set off an explosive device in the mausoleum.
Conflicting government statements say that Iranian security forces had killed the four assailants while other reports indicated that the assailants had been detained by police. The Islamic State (IS) took responsibility for the assault, which marks the first major terror attack committed by the terrorist group in Iran since IS ascended to power in 2014.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, used the incident to support Tehran’s involvement in wars abroad. He told students that if “Iran had not resisted,” it would have faced even more troubles, but “the Iranian nation will go forward.” Iran’s leaders then accused the Saudis of backing Sunni terrorists, promising that “spilled blood of the innocent will not remain unavenged.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said there was no evidence that the Kingdom was responsible for the violence, but the incident will likely increase tensions between the two regional rivals. While Riyadh has a history of state-support for Sunni extremist groups, including al-Qaeda in its early days, it has withdrawn support from those organizations. On Monday, it cut ties with Qatar saying that Qatar was funding and backing Tehran as well as terror organizations.
Meanwhile, the United States and the United Nations Secretary General both condemned the terrorist attacks. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that “the depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world.”