Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday called the White House statement about the double attack on Tehran that killed 16 people “repugnant” after it linked the assault to what it called Iran’s support for terror.
Javad Zarif, who is on a visit to Turkey, also criticized a vote by the U.S. Senate soon after the attack to extend sanctions on Iran in a tweet.
“Iranian people reject such U.S. claims of friendship,” he said, hinting in the tweet that the terror attacks were “backed by U.S. clients.”
The U.S. statement, which expressed grief for the victims, concluded with the phrase “states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.” Other countries such as Russia, Britain and France just expressed condolences for the attack.
The Trump administration has taken a much harder line toward Iran than its predecessor, describing it as the top state sponsor of terrorism in the world and backing the view of allies Israel and Saudi Arabia that Iran is the chief threat to stability in the region.
The attacks on Iran’s parliament and the venerated shrine of the Islamic Republic’s founder shocked the country and was claimed by the Islamic State — an avowed enemy of both Iran and the United States. Both countries are fighting ISIS in neighboring Iraq and Syria.
Iranians awoke Thursday to find increased security on the streets of the capital and an announcement that the death toll from the attack had risen by four to 16, according to the state broadcaster. Emergency medical services said 52 were injured with 31 people still in the hospital.
According to the Interior Ministry, four people attacked the parliment building with automatic weapons, with one detonating an explosive vest and the others eventually being gunned down by security.
A two-person team, including one woman, launched a near simultaneous attack against Ayatollah Khomeini’s enormous tomb complex in the south of the city. The woman blew herself up with an explosive vest.
Both sites are revered symbols for the country, one of its founder and the other because it represents what the country describes as its participatory government — in sharp contrast to the hereditary monarchies of its main regional rivals across the Persian Gulf.
The attack appears to be inflaming the enmity between the countries.
In another tweet, Zarif, the foreign minister, referred to the parliament as “the seat of democracy” which was attacked by the proxies of “terror-sponsoring despots.”
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps issued a statement vowing to avenge the attack and described as “very meaningful” that it happened just a week after President Trump met with the “heads of one of the reactionary regional states that has constantly been supporting Takfiri terrorists.”
The rare assault in the heart of Tehran comes as the whole Persian Gulf region is on edge with a deepening feud between the Arab monarchies and gas-rich Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups and ties to Iran.
On Thursday,Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed la-Khalifah, put renewed pressure on Qatar “to distance itself from our number one enemy, Iran,” in remarks tothe Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.