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ISIS Claims Deadly Attacks in Iran

Others questioned Tehran’s decision to rise to the defense of Qatar. “We are wrong to suddenly seek close ties with Qatar,” said Saeed Laylaz, an economist close to the government. “They have been bankrolling the Sunni terrorist groups, in the same way the Saudis have.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia are the leading nations on the opposing sides of the Middle East split between Shiite and Sunni Islam. Iran has military advisers in Iraq and Syria, and controls and finances militias in those countries and in Lebanon. Tehran also has some influence over the Houthis fighting the government in Yemen, and it often speaks out in support of Shiites in Bahrain, a majority group that Iran says is repressed by the Sunni monarchy.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of “spearheading global terrorism.” Saudi officials say Iran is plotting to control the region. Saudi Arabia, an autocratic kingdom ruled by a royal family, also opposes Iran’s political ideology, which has a clerical supreme leader but also a president, Parliament and City Councils, chosen in elections where men and women can participate.

While terrorist attacks have become relatively commonplace in Europe and in most of the Middle East, Iran had remained comparatively safe. During May’s election campaign, President Hassan Rouhani often pointed to that fact, lauding the country’s security forces and intelligence agencies for their vigilance.

The coordinated terrorist attacks on Wednesday brought such feelings of security to an end, one analyst said. “Today, it was proved that we are vulnerable too,” the analyst, Nader Karimi Joni, said. “We must anticipate more attacks by the Islamic State, now that we are defeating them in Iraq and Syria,” he added.

While most details of the attacks on Wednesday remained unclear, local news agencies reported that one attacker at the mausoleum was a woman, who blew herself up, while another took cyanide and died.

For many years, Iran suffered from a long and bitter campaign of terrorist attacks by an armed opposition group, Mujahedeen Khalq, a Marxist-Islamic organization that for decades was supported by the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. In many of Mujahedeen Khalq’s attacks, when cornered, its members would take cyanide. In 2012, the group was taken off the terrorist list in the United States with the support of conservative Republican politicians.

Source: NYT > World

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