Iran kills mastermind behind Tehran attacks

Iran said its security forces on Saturday killed the mastermind of a twin attack on Tehran that left 17 people dead.

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi stated that the assailant was killed by Iranian intelligence forces but did not provide any further details about the individual or his death.

The Sunni Muslim militants of Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Shi'ite Muslim state.

"Especially when we see the United States position and the Senate sanctions bill [the same day as the terrorist attacks on Tehran which killed 17 people], all their objectives are revealed", Larijani said, adding "the enemy's strategy is to damage Iran's dignity and busy our authorities with side issues".

The intelligence ministry, meanwhile, said on Friday that 41 people suspected of being "agents of Daesh (IS)" had been arrested in the aftermath of Wednesday's attacks.

Iran said on Thursday that gunmen and bombers who attacked Tehran on Wednesday were Iranian members of ISIS who had fought in the militants' strongholds in Syria and Iraq - deepening the regional ramifications of the assaults.

Iranian forces have claimed that numerous people have been arrested in connection with the deadly events. A statement issued Wednesday evening stopped short of alleging direct Saudi involvement but called it "meaningful" that the attacks followed Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, where he strongly asserted Washington's support for Riyadh.

The six attackers were Iranians who had joined IS, the deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Reza Seifollahi, said on state TV.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Friday called the USA the "international" version of the Islamic State and accused Washington of exchanging democracy for money. In attacking the building, the Islamic State has tried to send the message not only that it hates Shiites and their doctrine but it also hates the Iranian version of democracy - parliamentary or Islamic. Security officials had found explosives in his hideout and claimed that his group had designated 50 locations inside Tehran for attacks. The ministry said the men had fought for IS in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria, before returning to Iran last August. The statement did not say whether the attackers were Iranian citizens.

Nine people suspected of IS links have been arrested, a website close to the judiciary said Friday, as mourners paid their respects to those killed at a ceremony attended by newly re-elected moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

At the same time, the fact is that Iran's special services, strenghened by decades of rivalry with world's strongest intelligence agencies and known for their high professionalism, failed to discover the preparation of such a daring, coordinated terrorist attack in time.

  • Leroy Wright