Terror finally reached Teheran with coordinated attacks on Iranian parliament and shrine of Imam Khomeini. Although it was four days after the Imam’s death anniversary, the targets were chosen carefully. The Parliament represents the will of the Iranian people who value their right to express their will at elections, albeit the candidates are vetted thoroughly by the Guardian’s Council. Nevertheless, imperfect as Iranian democracy may be, it is way more representative than the autocratic rule in the six GCC countries to their South.
The shrine of Imam Khomeini is a place of pilgrimage and a reminder of the person who created the Islamic republic as well as the concept of Velayet-e-faqiha, or Rule of the Most Jurisprudent. That concept is the bedrock of the Iranian state, with the Supreme Leader at its centre.
The attack was a hybrid one consisting of women suicide bombers and gunmen. The Iranian requirement for women to wear a “manteau” or coat over their dress actually enabled the female terrorists to hide their suicide vests. The number of dead will continue to mount as two powerful explosions are bound to have been lethal. The blast at the Iranian parliament was on the fourth floor of the administrative block. But more worryingly, some hostages were taken, whose fate is unknown.
The timing will cause embarrassment to Saudi-led GCC members pillorying Qatar, as Iran was being painted as the source of all terror. In fact former President Barack Obama’s policy of unshackling Iran as it was the one able and willing to roll back ISIS is proving correct. As per the video posted by ISIS the gunmen are speaking Arabic as they ploughed their way through Parliament. Clearly this was ISIS repaying Iran for designing the ground offensive against them in Iraq-Syria.
Their decimation is almost complete in Iraq as ISIS fighters are clinging to a small area around the grand mosque at Mosul, where their leader Al-Baghdadi had declared himself Caliph. Syrian Kurds are pressing closer to the ISIS capital at Raqqa. Terror groups are most dangerous when they begin to lose.
The Qatar story raises related issues. A tweet by US President Donald Trump almost took ownership for action against any country supporting terror, going on to add that Qatar was being singled out. News now that hackers may have planted the news on the Qatari site on which Saudis and Emiratis rest their action makes the US and its GCC allies look impetuous and illogical.
What is surprising is that the great Twitter addict Trump has now begun tweeting about domestic issues, ignoring the terror attack in Teheran. Is this another manifestation of America First?
Iran needs global support and commiseration. Surely this is not an issue to be seen in Shia-Sunn terms. ISIS is the enemy of humanity. Let the Saudis use this opportunity to reach out to Iran. Were they to do so, some good yet may emerge from today’s tragedy.