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MIDEAST >Iran minister rejects Trump’s condolences for attacks as “repugnant”

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected Donald Trump’s condolences for deadly attacks in Tehran, calling the U.S. president’s words repugnant.

Trump had said he prayed for the victims of attacks on June 7 that were claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but added that “states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Zarif, who visited Turkey for an official visit on Qatar on June 7, wrote on his Twitter account: “Repugnant White House statement .... Iranian people reject such U.S. claims of friendship.”
  
Tehran confirmed on June 8 that gunmen and bombers who attacked Tehran were Iranian members of ISIL who had fought in the militants’ strongholds in Syria and Iraq - deepening the regional ramifications of the assaults.

The attackers raided Iran’s parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum on June 7 in the morning, in a rare strike at the heart of the Islamic Republic. 

Authorities said the death count had risen to 17 and scores were wounded. 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have also said regional rival Saudi Arabia was involved, fuelling tensions between Sunni Muslim power Riyadh and Shi’ite power Tehran as they vie for influence in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia dismissed the accusation.

Iran’s intelligence ministry said on June 8 that five of attackers who died in the assault had been identified as Iranians who had joined the hardline Sunni Muslim militants of ISIL on their main battlegrounds in Iraq and Syria.

“They earlier left Iran and were involved in the crimes of the terrorist group in Raqqa and Mosul,” the ministry said, referring to Islamic State’s effective capital in Syria and a city it captured in Iraq.

“Last year, they returned to Iran ... to carry out terrorist attacks in the holy cities of Iran,” the ministry added in a statement on state news agency IRNA.

Two Sunni militant groups, Jaish al-Adl and Jundallah, have been also waging an insurgency in Iran, mostly in remote areas, for almost a decade.

Iran’s intelligence ministry said earlier on June 8 that it had arrested more suspects linked to the attacks, on top of six Iranians, including one woman, detained on June 7.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency said on of the wounded people had died in hospital, bringing the death toll to 17. Two of the victims were women, it added, citing official figures.

Security camera footage aired on state TV showed people running and seeking cover as the gunmen strode through parliament’s halls, firing their weapons and hitting at least one person.

June/08/2017

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