Blood stains the floor of the Shah Cheragh Shrine in Shiraz, Iran, in the aftermath of an ISIS terror attack. 26 October, 2022. (Photo credit: West Asia News Agency/Amin Berenjkar via Reuters)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has pledged “a crushing response” to those responsible for the terror attack on the shrine of Shah Cheragh in the city of Shiraz on 26 October.
“This vicious act will definitely not go unanswered. The country’s security and law enforcement forces … will deliver a decisive response to its architects and operatives,” the Iranian leader said.
Raisi went on to highlight that: “Experience shows Iran’s enemies take revenge for their failed attempts to cause divisions within the ranks of the Iranian society and impede the country’s progress by means of violence and terror.”
Late on Wednesday night, ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting attack which left at least 15 dead and 40 injured.
According to Iranian state media, the attacker is a foreign national. The police commander of Fars province said he entered the shrine and indiscriminately opened fire on worshippers, including women and children.
“We will certainly not allow Iran’s national security and interests to be toyed with by terrorists and foreign meddlers who claim to defend human rights,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a statement following the attack.
“This crime made the sinister intentions of the promoters of terror and violence in Iran completely clear. There is reliable information that the enemies have drawn up a multi-layered project to make Iran insecure,” he added.
Furthermore, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the Shiraz terror attack “exposed the complex nature of the enemy’s conspiracies.”
Iran has been rocked by anti-government protests for close to a month, which were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who fell into a coma hours after being detained by the Moral Security Police on 13 September. She passed away in a hospital three days later due to multiple organ failure caused by cerebral hypoxia.
Wednesday’s terror attack coincided with heavy clashes between riot police and protesters who gathered in Amini’s hometown of Saqez by the thousands to mark 40 days since her death, according to western media reports.
The semi-official ISNA news agency confirmed clashes took place in Saqez, saying: “A limited number of those present at Mahsa Amini’s memorial clashed with police forces on the outskirts of Saqez and were dispersed.”
While many citizens are taking to the street to show their discontent with the role of the Moral Security Police – among other internal issues – Tehran has accused foreign players of funding and fueling violent riots in a bid to destabilize the nation.
More than 300 people have been charged in connection to the unrest in Tehran. Four of them could even face the death penalty, authorities announced on 24 October.
According to Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi, quoted by the Mizan Online judicial authority website, 315 people are charged with “gathering and conspiracy against the security of the country,” as well as “propaganda” and “disturbing public order.”
Speaking with the state-run Tasnim News Agency last month, Amini’s father said his family wants “the perpetrators [to be] questioned in public as to why they did this and to be punished for their actions.”
Amjad Amini went on to criticize those “who seek to exploit the issue of Mahsa’s death,” saying the family has nothing to do with these violent groups.
Reformist groups have also denounced the violent protests, saying they “cannot align ourselves with street protesters who call for regime change.”