Thousands mourn Iran attack victims, chant 'Death to Saudi Arabia'

Iran's intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Saturday night that 43 suspects had been arrested and operations to identify and crush more "terrorists cells" were underway.

Iran says it has killed the mastermind behind the twin attacks on its parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, which left 17 dead and injured 50.

First of all, the Islamic State (IS) terror group claimed responsibility and second of all, the response by the democratic world.

The distrust of Iran was evident on Wednesday when shortly after the condemnation, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate acted in a procedural vote to move forward on a new set of sanctions on Tehran, including its elite Revolutionary Guards.

At a ceremony held in parliament, attended by newly re-elected moderate President Hassan Rouhani, speaker Ali Larijani also attacked the United States and Saudi Arabia.

But yesterday, he turned his wrath over the attacks on the United States and Saudi Arabia, Iran's fiercest rivals. The Saudis recently hosted US President Donald Trump in Riyadh, where the American leader called on Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations to "drive out the terrorists and extremists" from the region.

Iranian-backed militants are fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. However, Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, criticized the idea that Syria and Iraq could form an effective first line of defense for Iran.

"One of their brothers who was more unsafe than them fell into the hands of the intelligence services and has been arrested", the intelligence minister said in a televised press conference of the five gunmen. The terror in Tehran erupted in a week already punctuated by an intensification of frictions within the Gulf, as Saudi Arabia and its allies ruptured diplomatic, economic, and logistical ties with neighboring Qatar, in part as a response to Qatari engagement with Iran. "The attacks were a wake-up call for Iran's security apparatus", said senior Iran analyst Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group.

Iran initially said a dozen victims died; it's unclear whether the toll announced Thursday includes the five attackers.

It also said the Islamic republic was hunting for the command centers of the terrorists beyond the borders. "If we do not go there, Daesh will be emboldened", he said.

More than 40 people were also wounded in Wednesday's attacks.



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