ISIS Attacks On Iran Should Make The Regime Reflect

Shahriar Kia Policy Analyst
Font Size:

At a time when Iran is engulfed in a conglomerate of domestic and international crises, the regime witnessed two unexpected attacks by ISIS against its godfather in Tehran, marking the first such attack by the terror group on Iranian soil.

Parallel to denunciations from across the globe, the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran condemned the attack and warned of Tehran taking advantage of such a development.

NCRI President Maryam Rajavi strongly condemned the loss of innocent lives under any pretext.

“ISIS’s conduct clearly benefits the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, who wholeheartedly welcomes it as an opportunity to overcome his regime’s regional and international impasse and isolation. The founder and the number one state sponsor of terror is thus trying to switch the place of the murderer and the victim and portray the central banker of terrorism as a victim,” Rajavi said.

Reports and evidence to this day show the presence and crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria were to the sole benefit of Iran, allowing this regime to justify its role in this region. Iran, in contrast to other countries of the Middle East, has been the only country where ISIS and al-Qaeda had not conducted a terror attack. This could not have been a mere coincidence.

Strangely, all signs indicate Iran actually welcomed this incident. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei outrageously described this attack, that according to state media left 17 killed and dozens of others injured, merely as “playing with firecrackers.” Maybe he witnessed a potential in this turn of events to cloak the dilemmas and crises his entire apparatus is facing.

The spread of domestic rallies against the mullahs in Iran, the recent presidential election quagmire, escalating protests and gatherings staged outside the parliament by investors who have lost their savings in two now-bankrupt financial firms linked to the Revolutionary Guards, and strong positions taken by the United States and more than 50 Arabic and Muslim countries in the recent Riyadh Summit are a small slate of the regime’s current calamities.

To this end, this terrorist attack couldn’t have come at a better timing for the regime and provided a number of desperately needed lifelines. The Iranian regime will now seek to justify repressive measures against domestic protests, seek to normalize conditions to portray a status quo similar to those prior to the May presidential election, and escalate its meddling in other countries under the pretext of the war against ISIS.

Despite the fact that ISIS has claimed responsibility for this attack, people inside Iran have taken to Telegram and other social media platforms to express their surprise and suspicions, questioning how assailants were able to penetrate into the parliament, especially considering the already tight security atmosphere in Iran. They are also doubting claims made by various MPs who claimed the parliament’s sessions continued despite attackers entering the building. Conflicting reports were issued by official sources regarding the number of attackers and other factors, further adding to the public’s doubts over the entire issue.

It is worth noting that Iran has a history of resorting to similar measures when pinned against insurmountable crises. For example, on June 20th, 1994, at a time when thousands of people had filled the Imam Reza Shrine, considered Iran’s holiest site in the country located in the northeastern city of Mashhad, a powerful bombing left dozens of pilgrims killed and hundreds wounded.

The Iranian regime raised allegations against its main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Khamenei sent a message demanding the PMOI be punished, including expulsion from European countries and Iraq. Five years later, as the light was shed on the “chain murders” in Iran, evidence surfaced showing the role of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence in the Mashhad bombing. In 1999 Iran’s Armed Forces Judiciary Organization issued a statement accusing Saeid Emami, then Iranian deputy minister of intelligence under Ali Fallahian, acknowledging further the MOIS role in this attack.

There are also voices heard arguing that the Iranian regime and ISIS enjoyed an unwritten agreement, similar to the relationship between Syria’s Bashar Assad regime and ISIS. It is to no surprise at all, considering the fact that both parties believe their ending is near. The mullahs are losing the war against the Iranian people, and ISIS is more vulnerable than ever in the face of a global coalition. Their golden era has come to an end.

To uproot terrorism in the Middle East, Rajavi emphasized the following measures:

  • The IRGC must be designated as a terrorist entity.
  • The IRGC and paramilitary proxies of the Khamenei caliphate must be removed from Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
  • The Organization of Islamic Cooperation must expel the mullahs’ regime and recognize the Iranian Resistance for ending religious fascism.