Attacks On Iranian Parliament, Khomeini Shrine Leave 12 Dead

At least 12 people have been killed and dozens injured in twin attacks in Tehran on the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s shrine.

The attacks, which drew worldwide condemnation including from the United States, were claimed by the extremist group Islamic State (IS), which released a video purporting to show gunmen inside the parliament building.

It is the first time the Sunni militant organization has claimed responsibility for an attack in tightly controlled Shi’ite-majority Iran.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the attacks mere “firecrackers” that would have no effect on the Iranian people.

President Hassan Rohani said the attacks would make Iran more united.

“Today’s terrorist attacks in Tehran will make the Islamic Republic of Iran more determined in the fight against regional terrorism, extremism, and violence,” Rohani said in a statement published on the ISNA news agency.

“Iran’s message as always is that terrorism is a global problem, and unity to fight extremism, violence, and terrorism with regional and international cooperation is the most important need of today’s world,” Rohani said in a statement.

Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of being behind the action and vowed revenge.

“This terrorist attack occurred only a week after the meeting between the U.S. president and the [Saudi] backward leaders who support terrorists. The fact that Islamic State has claimed responsibility proves that they were involved in the barbaric attack,” an IRGC statement said, adding that the “spilled blood of the innocent will not remain unavenged.”

Separately, the deputy chief of the IRGC’s Intelligence Service, Mohammad Hossein Nejat, told the Fars news agency that the men who attacked the parliament building in Tehran were aged between 20 and 25.

“[They] went to the parliament as visitors. The guards became suspicious of their bags and when they wanted to search them, shooting began and they killed the security guard,” he said. “The U.S. and Saudi regimes had ordered their stooges to do this.”

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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