Tehran attackers were Iranians, fought for IS in Syria and Iraq - ministry

Commuters in the Iranian capital noticed more police than usual on the streets as dawn broke.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported the increase Thursday, citing Ahmad Shojaei, the head of the country's forensic center. Fars news agency issued a report saying that ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attacks in Tehran.

Iran denounced President Donald Trump's response to twin attacks in Tehran as "repugnant", and linked the violence claimed by Islamic State to the US president's visit to arch-nemesis Saudi Arabia.

"Terror-sponsoring despots threaten to bring the fight to our homeland", Javad Zarif said in a tweet making reference to an earlier statement from the Saudi deputy prince that they will take the fight into Iranian territories. Last year, they returned to the country under the leadership of Abu Aish to carry out terrorist attacks in the holy places of Iran, a statement by the Iranian Security Ministry said. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed the "repugant" White House statement in a Twitter post on Thursday, adding, "Iranian people reject such USA claims of friendship".

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.

That statement came after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard blamed the USA and Saudi leaders for the attack.

It described them as "long affiliated with the Wahhabi", an ultraconservative form of Sunni Islam practised in Saudi Arabia.

In the wake of Wednesday's attacks, Iran's Revolutionary Guard released a statement accusing the Saudis of being complicit in the attacks.

"The Iranian nation sees this terrorist action that happened a week after the joint meeting of the USA president with the heads of one of the reactionary regional states that has constantly been supporting Takfiri terrorists as to be very meaningful, and believes that [Islamic State's] acknowledging the responsibility indicates their complicity in this wild move", the Washington Times reported citing the IRGC statement.

The killed terrorists, who identified as Saryas, Abu Jahad Qayyum, Ramin and Fereydoun had left Iran to Iraq and Syria after joining ISIS.

Iranians will likely "view this as an attempt to test and weaken Iran, to show that they are vulnerable inside their borders", Handjani said. They never named the country directly, but the implication was clear.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader, used the attacks to defend Tehran's involvement in wars overseas.

The rare assault in the heart of Tehran comes as the whole Persian Gulf region is on edge with a deepening feud between the Arab monarchies and gas-rich Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups and ties to Iran.

  • Leroy Wright