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Security Official Says Tehran Attackers Were Iranians Who Joined Islamic State Group

A woman is evacuated during the attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran on June 7.
A woman is evacuated during the attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran on June 7.

An Iranian security official said early on June 8 that the assailants in two deadly attacks in Tehran were Iranian nationals who had joined the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Speaking on Iranian television and quoted by the independent Shargh daily website, Reza Seifollahi, an official in the country's Supreme National Security Council, was asked who were the operatives in the dual attacks that killed 13 people and wounded more than 40.

"About the identity of the attackers, I should say they were from parts of Iran, and had joined Daesh," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the extremist Sunni group.

IS had previously claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and some top Iranian officials on June 7 had blamed Saudi Arabia and the United States.

It was the first time Islamic State staged a major attack in Iran, which is backing militia groups that are battling IS in both Iraq and Syria. The extremist group considers the 90 percent of Iranians who are Shi'ite Muslims to be apostates.

But the group reportedly has been recruiting from among Iran's sizable Sunni minority population, which resides mostly in restive border areas with Iraq and Pakistan.

Zarif Slams Washington

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that the White House’s reaction to the deadly attacks in Tehran and moves by U.S. lawmakers to slap new sanctions on Iran were "repugnant."

"Repugnant WH statement & Senate sanctions as Iranians counter terror backed by US clients. Iranian people reject such US claims of friendship," said in a tweet on June 7.

In a statement, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed sympathy for the victims of the attacks, but warned that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate advanced a package of new sanctions on Iran to punish Tehran for its ballistic missile program, arms transfers, and support for militant groups in the Middle East.

Senators voted on a procedural measure that sets up a final vote in the coming days.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters