Twelve people were killed in coordinated attacks purportedly carried out by Islamic State (IS) militants at Tehran’s Parliament and the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum on Wednesday, June 7. Three gunmen reportedly entered the Parliament and opened fire. One of the assailants was wearing a suicide vest and detonated the explosives inside the building while security forces were launching an offensive. The other assailants were killed or arrested by security forces.
Furthermore, four assailants stormed the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini in southern Tehran on Wednesday morning. Several casualties were reported after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives and gunmen opened fire. The situation seemed to have been brought under control by security forces when another attacker detonated a second suicide vest inside the Mausoleum. All assailants have now been neutralized.
IS has claimed responsibility for both attacks.
The threat of terrorism is persistent in Iran, especially due to the involvement of Iranian forces and militias fighting IS within the context of the Syrian conflict. On March 27, IS issued a video directly threatening Iran and Ali Khamenei, the county’s supreme leader. In the 36-minute video published on social media, IS militants directly addressed threats to the supreme leader and showed the execution of prisoners believed to be Shi’as. In the last few months, the Iranian government has reported a number of security incidents involving suspected IS members in the country.
Moreover Iran, along with the rest of the Islamic world, is currently celebrating the Holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a period of reflection and self-restraint and it carries great significance within the Muslim calendar. Muslims traditionally observe daytime fasting and are called to practice increased devotion and abstain from certain activities. Ramadan also marks a significant increase in the regional terror threat in many Muslim-majority countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. In recent years, IS and other terrorist groups have called on their fighters to perpetrate attacks during this period (May 26 to June 24 in 2017).
Individuals in Tehran are advised to avoid both areas, monitor the situation, obey any instructions issued by the local authorities. Due to the terrorist risk more generally, remain vigilant and report suspicious activity or objects, particularly when in areas deemed more likely to be targeted (transportation hubs, places of worship, etc.).