Here’s something you don’t see every day… or even every year, really. A terrorist attack inside of the tightly controlled nation of Iran. The Washington Post was reporting that two separate incidents took place, one involving gunmen at the nation’s Parliament building and the other featuring a suicide bomber at the tomb of Iran’s revolutionary leader. Keep in mind that all of this is coming from state television inside of Iran and is not confirmed.
Iranian news outlets reported a pair of possibly coordinated attacks on the parliament and the highly symbolic tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini in the capital Tehran on Tuesday.
Casualties are unclear but the parliament is on lockdown and there are reports that in addition to the gunmen at the tomb of the Islamic Republic’s founder, a suicide bomber blew himself up.
Attacks of this kind are a rarity in the heart of Iran’s highly secure capital.
The Associated Press offered a few more details, again relying partly on state run television reports, but they also have an AP stringer in the city adding some details so the story is looking more reliable. In this version we get the initial reports on the number of casualties and the possibility that a second suicide bomber was involved at Parliament.
The Islamic State group claimed a pair of attacks Wednesday on Iran’s parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which have killed two security guards and wounded more than 30 people, with the siege at the legislature still underway…
The attacks began midmorning when assailants armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed the parliament building. One of the attackers later blew himself up inside, where a session had been in progress, according to a statement carried by Iran’s state TV.
If most of this reporting is true, this was a pretty well coordinated assault. The AP reporter inside of Tehran claimed that while police snipers were on the roof of the Parliament building, terrorists were inside with rifles, shooting out from the windows at pedestrians on the streets below. The presence of a second suicide bomber inside of Parliament (still unconfirmed) indicates that they had access to plenty of firepower.
This sort of thing is rare in Iran, but not entirely unknown. You have to dial back the clock bit, but in 2010 there were a couple of suicide bombings in Iran’s southeastern city of Chabahar, one of which killed 39 people. But unlike the situation today, those were actions which were claimed by the Jundullah, a militant Sunni group which protests oppression by the Shias. (Their name translates to “Soldiers of God.”) So rather than some sort of international terror crusade against the west, that’s more of the usual infighting between the two primary factions of the Muslim religion in the region.
But now, since Iran has been joining in on the fighting against ISIS in Syria and Iraq they have apparently become targets of the group as well. that’s kind of ironic when you consider that virtually everyone considers Iran to be the leading sponsor (and fundraising unit) of international terrorism in the world. Still, for all of the evil they’ve done, I wouldn’t wish ISIS on them. And yet this demonstrates that this plague has spread all over the planet, even into some of the most tightly locked down cities imaginable.