Tehran and Cairo, Jan. 4 (EFE) – The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Thursday for the double suicide bombing that killed at least 84 people in the southern Iranian city of Kerman during celebrations marking the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani by the United States.
The Islamist militant group said in a statement released through its Telegram channels that two of its members “approached a large gathering” of “polytheist” Iranians near Soleimani’s tomb in Kerman and “detonated their explosive belts.”
The terrorist attack took place on Wednesday afternoon as thousands of people were attending ceremonies to mark the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Soleimani in Baghdad on the orders of then-US President Donald Trump.
Iran lowers death toll Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi announced on Thursday that the death toll of the attacks was 84, compared to the 103 initially announced, although he acknowledged that there were still several people in critical condition and in “unfavorable” conditions.
According to the Iranian agency Tasnim, which is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, Vahidi gave this figure during a visit to several hospitals in the area, citing forensic data, but did not explain why it had been reduced by nearly 20 people.
The minister also said that of the 284 injured, 220 were still hospitalized, most in stable condition or requiring only “minor operations.
The enmity between Iran and IS
The most obvious bone of contention between Iran and IS is that they belong to opposing branches of Islam: while the former is a theocratic Shiite republic, the latter is a Sunni fundamentalist group.
From its inception, IS virulently attacked all Shiite communities it encountered in Iraq (which has a Shiite majority), Syria, and Afghanistan – considering Shiites to be “polytheists” and “false Muslims,” which theologically not only “allows” but demands their extermination.
While Iran was one of the main players in the destruction of the emirate that IS established on Iraqi and Syrian territory; Tehran deployed numerous “volunteer” troops on the ground, organized and strengthened local militias, provided intelligence and air support, and exerted political pressure on those who supported IS.
Soleimani was responsible for organizing Iran’s fight against IS.
By 2017, the territorial defeat of IS in Iraq was a fact, and its remnants began a terrorist campaign on Iranian territory.
On Thursday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country would use “all existing political, legal and international possibilities” to pursue the perpetrators of the “heinous terrorist attack” in Kerman.
Prior to the Islamic State’s claim, various Iranian officials had indirectly blamed Israel and the US for “holding a grudge against Soleimani and deciding to take revenge on the people after several of their plots to destabilize the country were neutralized.”
The United States, as well as a large part of the international community, has expressed their condolences and condemned the double explosion in Kerman.
The United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning the “cowardly terrorist attack” and sening its condolences to the victims’ families and the Iranian government. EFE