TEHRAN: The attackers who stormed Tehran’s parliament complex and the revolutionary leader’s shrine on Wednesday were Iranian nationals who had joined the Islamic State group (IS), a top official said.
The six attackers “were Iranian and joined Daesh (IS) from some parts of Iran,” said Reza Seifollahi, deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, on state TV late Wednesday.
It was the first attack in Iran claimed by IS, which had threatened to step up its campaign in the country in recent months.
Iran is a key fighting force against IS and other groups in Iraq and Syria, and the jihadists consider Iran’s ShiaMuslims to be apostates.
Shias make up roughly 90 percent of Iran’s population, but the country also has a sizeable Sunni minority, particularly around its restive borders with Iraq and Pakistan.
Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked Iran’s parliament and the Mausoleum of Khomeini, killing at least 12 people in a twin assault.
Islamic State claimed responsibility and released a video purporting to show gunmen inside the parliament building and one man, who appeared wounded, on the floor.
Soon after the assault on parliament, another bomber detonated a suicide vest near the shrine of the Republic’s revered founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, a few kilometres south of the city.
The attacks took place less than a month after the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, whose landslide victory defeated candidates supported by the hardline clergy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is responsible for national security.