Iran’s foreign minister has branded condolences sent by the White House over recent Tehran attacks as “repugnant.” The US administration sent sympathies to Iran, but lectured that “states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
“Repugnant White House statement … as Iranians counter terrorism backed by US clients. Iranian people reject such US claims of friendship,” Zarif tweeted.
At least 13 people died and dozens were injured in gun and bomb attacks at the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s shrine in Tehran on Wednesday. The attacks were claimed by Islamic state (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), said Amaq news agency, which is affiliated with the terrorists.
The five attackers were Iranian citizens who had joined IS before returning to Iran in summer 2016, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry confirmed on Thursday.
“The five known terrorists... after joining the IS terrorist group, left the country and participated in crimes carried out by this terrorist group in Mosul and Raqqa,” the ministry said.
On Wednesday evening, the White House sent condolences to Iran, including the controversial cautionary note.
“We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” the White House said in a statement. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards [IRGC] accused Saudi Arabia of masterminding the attacks, saying that the assaults “happened only a week after the meeting between the US president [Donald Trump] and the [Saudi] backward leaders who support terrorists.”
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, IRGC deputy commander, vowed to “take revenge” for the attacks.
“Let there be no doubt that we will take revenge for today's attacks in Tehran, on terrorists, their affiliates and their supporters,” he said, Mehr news agency reported.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, rejected Tehran’s accusations.
“We condemn terrorist attacks anywhere they occur and we condemn the killing of the innocent anywhere it occurs,” Jubeir said.
According to the director of the Crisis Research Institute, Mark Almond, it is highly possible IS was, as it claims, behind the attacks in Iran as the group is interested in stirring up a Sunni-Shiite conflict. However, other groups and regional player involvement can’t be ruled out, he added.
"ISIS has an interest in stirring up a Sunni-Shiite conflict. Iran is the major Shia power in the Muslim world, and there are big tensions between Iran and its Sunni neighbors – particularly Saudi Arabia,” he told RT.
Middle East expert Catherine Shakdam told RT that she is confident there is “more than a connection” between the attacks and Saudi Arabia.
“We have to stop tiptoeing around the idea that Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with ISIS. If anything ISIS is the weapon that Saudi Arabia has wielded around the world to promote its agenda. ISIS has bred on Wahhabism. Wahhabism is the state religion of Saudi Arabia,” she said.