Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Iran arrests dozens of IS 'agents'

The Intelligence Ministry said on June 8 that five men involved in the attacks were Iranians who joined IS in Iraq and Syria. During the raids a large number of weapons, bombs, detonators, explosive belts, communication equipment and false documents were also confiscated in various homes used by extremists in northwestern regions of the country.

The attackers targeted two symbolically significant places: the Parliament building and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini-not to be confused with the country's current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He called regional rival Saudi Arabia "a tribal state very far from anything like a democracy", and denounced USA sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme. This Friday, the ministry noted in another separate statement that Iranian security forces, in cooperation with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the police, had identified and seized several elements linked to the attacks.

On Thursday, Iran's Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said investigators were working to determine whether Saudi Arabia had a role in Wednesday's attacks but said it was too soon to say whether that was the case.

The ISIL terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the fatal attacks in Tehran.

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In a condolence message read to mourners ahead of a funeral for the victims of Wednesday's attack that killed 17 and wounded scores, Khamenei blasted leaders in Washington and Riyadh.

The president said it is not the first time the nation witnesses such acts of terror, stressing that "people will find their own way to national goals and unity, and the nation will undoubtedly emerge victorious". Some cried, while others chanted, "Death to Saudi Arabia", "Death to America" and "God is greatest".

Mohammad Rasouli, 66, sitting on the ground with a group across the street, said it was his duty to attend the procession and an afternoon funeral expected at 2 p.m. during weekly prayers. "If we do not go there, Daesh will be emboldened", he said.

This article was originally published at 8:20 a.m.

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