Donald Trump responds to deadly 'Isis' attacks in Iran: 'States that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to it'
Iran's Revolutionary Guard blames Saudi Arabia for deadly attacks which killed at least 12 people
Donald Trump has said that Iran has fallen victim to the 'evil' it promoted following dual attacks in Tehran that killed at least 12 people and wounded more than 40.
In a statement the US president said: "We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times.
"We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."
The violence began in mid-morning when assailants with Kalashnikov rifles and explosives stormed the parliament complex where a legislative session had been in progress.
The siege lasted for hours, and one of the attackers blew himself up inside, according to Iran's state TV.
Images circulating in Iranian media showed gunmen held rifles near the windows of the complex.
One showed a toddler being handed through a first-floor window to safety outside as an armed man looks on.
The Isis group's Aamaq news agency released a 24-second video purportedly shot inside the complex, showing a bloody, lifeless body on the floor next to a desk.
An Associated Press reporter saw several police snipers on the roofs of nearby buildings.
Police helicopters circled the parliament and all mobile phone lines from inside were disconnected.
Shops in the area were closed as gunfire rang out and officials urged people to avoid public transportation.
Witnesses said the attackers fired from the parliament building's fourth floor at people in the streets.
"I was passing by one of the streets. I thought that children were playing with fireworks, but I realised people are hiding and lying down on the streets," Ebrahim Ghanimi, who was around the parliament building, told the AP.
"With the help of a taxi driver, I reached a nearby alley."
As the parliament attack unfolded, gunmen and suicide bombers also struck outside Khomeini's mausoleum on Tehran's southern outskirts.
The ayatollah led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran's first supreme leader until his death in 1989.
Iran's state broadcaster said a security guard was killed at the tomb and that one of the attackers was slain by security guards.
A woman was also arrested. The revered shrine was not damaged.
The Interior Ministry said six assailants were killed, four at the parliament and two at the tomb.
A senior Interior Ministry official told Iran's state TV the male attackers wore women's attire.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called the attacks a cowardly act.
Five suspects have been detained following the deadly attacks.
General Hossein Sajedinia told the semi-official ISNA news agency on Wednesday night that police are interrogating the suspects.
He did not elaborate, but said Tehran is safe and police and other security forces are deployed and closely monitoring the Iranian capital.
The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group but Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has blamed Saudi Arabia.
"This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the US president and the backward [Saudi] leaders who support terrorists. The fact that Islamic State has claimed responsibility proves that they were involved in the brutal attack," the Revolutionary Guard said.
There was no immediate response from Saudi Arabia.
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An Iranian security official later said the attackers were Iranian nationals.
The website of independent Shargh daily quoted Reza Seifollahi, an official in the country's Supreme National Security Council, as saying the operatives were from Iran. He did not elaborate.
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Iran v Saudi Arabia
Iran and Saudi Arabia are sworn enemies with the latter having been accused of providing support to Isis and other radical Islamic militants.
Last month Mr Trump basked in Saudi Arabia's lavish royal welcome as he left behind, at least temporarily, the snowballing controversies dogging him in Washington.
Mr Trump rewarded his hosts with a 110 billion US dollar arms package.
Terror funding report
Meanwhile calls are growing for the release of the Home Office inquiry into the sources of jihadist propaganda materials and funding are growing more vocal after Saturday’s terror attack in London Bridge, in which seven people were killed.
Isis, which espouses an extremist version of the puritanical Sunni Wahabism practised in Saudi Arabia, claimed responsibility for the incident, the third terror attack on British soil in less than three months.
Speaking in Carlisle on Sunday evening, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the UK needs to “have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology.
“It is no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of extremist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including Isis here and in the Middle East.”
Writing in the Guardian on Monday, Liberal Democrat leader also called for the report’s release.
“Theresa May now has a choice. Does she publish that report or keep it hidden?” Mr Farron said.
“May talks of the need to have some difficult and sometimes embarrassing conversations. That should include exposing and rooting out the source funding of terror, even it means difficult and embarrassing conversations with those like Saudi Arabia that the government claims are our allies.”
The Conservative government has been repeatedly criticised for increased arms sales to Riyadh, one of the top destinations for UK arms export licences: recent British arms export licences sold to the Gulf state exceed £3.5bn. Critics say those weapons are fuelling conflict and extremism across the Middle East, including in Yemen.
The inquiry was commissioned by David Cameron at the insistence of the Liberal Democrats in exchange for their support of extending UK air strikes against Isis into Syria in December 2015.
It was supposed to be published by spring 2016 - but it is still incomplete and may never see the light of day due to its “sensitive” content, a Home Office source told the Guardian said last month.
A leaked intelligence report last year said that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar are supporting extremist Islamic groups in Germany.
A brief seen by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and broadcasters NDR and WDR raised concern over a reported increase in support for fundamentalist Salafism in Germany, warning that the ideology already has 10,000 followers and is growing.
The report, by Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency and Federal Intelligence Service (BND) reportedly accused Gulf groups of funding mosques, religious schools, hardline preachers and conversion or “dawah” groups to spread the ideology.
'Clandestine financial and logistic support'
Hillary Clinton said in leaked emails, published by WikiLeaks prior to the 2016 US election, that Saudi Arabia and Qatar give Isis clandestine financial and logistic support.
The email exchanges between Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign chair John Podesta contained an exchange that showed the presidential candidate identified the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar as “clandestine” “financial and logistic” supporters of the terrorist group, despite surface cooperation between the US and the Sunni states on combating the militants and other actions in Syria’s multi-sided civil war.
“While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [Isis] and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” Ms Clinton reportedly wrote.
“This effort will be enhanced by the stepped up commitment in the [Kurdish Regional Government]. The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious US pressure.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital