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95 People Killed In Terrorist Attack In Iran

At least 95 people were killed and scores injured on January 3 in two blasts that struck the central Iranian city of Kerman, where thousands of mourners had gathered to commemorate Qasem Soleimani on the fourth anniversary of his assassination in a US drone strike in Iraq in 2020. Bahram Eynollahi, Iran’s health minister, was quoted by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) as saying 95 people were killed and 211 were injured. An earlier toll provided by officials, of 103 killed, was lowered because names were repeated on a list of victims, he said. The deputy governor of Kerman, the slain general’s hometown, said the incident was a “terrorist attack,” according to IRNA. The explosions occurred about a half-mile from Soleimani’s burial place, on the road to the graveyard, and roughly 20 minutes apart, the agency reported. Before the blasts, the state-run live broadcast had shown tens of thousands of mourners filling the street, moving calmly in a procession. After the attack, it broadcast video of people running frantically and men wearing emergency medical technician uniforms surging into the crowd. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Iran has faced numerous attacks in the past, including from separatist groups, the US and Israel, and Sunni extremists. A 2017 attack in Tehran claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group targeted the parliament building and the mausoleum of the leader of the nation’s Islamic revolution, killing at least 12 people. Israel, Iran’s main regional rival, has callously assassinated 6 nuclear scientists in Iran between 2010 and 2020 and attacked nuclear facilities. This most recent attack is the deadliest terrorist attack in Iran since the Cinema Rex fire in August of 1978. The Cinema Rex fire, carried out by SAVAK, the secret police of the former Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, resulted in the deaths of 470 people and served as a rallying cry in support of the 1978-79 Iranian Revolution that resulted in the overthrow of the Shah’s regime.

A senior Biden administration official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity under ground rules established by the Biden administration, suggested that the bombing in Iran was the work of an insurgent group such as the Islamic State. “Based on the [modus operandi] it does look like a terrorist attack and the type of thing we’ve seen ISIS do in the past,” the official said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “And as far as we’re aware that’s kind of, I think, our going assumption at the moment.”

Iranian leaders vowed retaliation against “enemies” but did not accuse anyone directly for the attack. “The evil, criminal enemies of the Iranian nation have once again created a tragedy and martyred a large number of our dear people in Kerman,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a statement. “This tragedy will be met with a strong response.” In a televised speech, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi referred frequently to the US and Israel as he condemned the “heinous” killings but also refrained from explicitly blaming anyone for the blasts. “The criminals who have the blood of the innocent people on their hands, they can’t even tolerate his burial site,” he said. The state news agency reported that Raisi had postponed a planned trip to Turkey on January 4 because of the attacks.

Qasem Soleimani headed the Quds Force, an expeditionary unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In that role, he oversaw a network of Iranian-supported proxy groups across the Middle East that helped project Iran’s military and political power in places such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Soleimani joined the IRGC in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution. Reportedly, his training was minimal, but he advanced rapidly and developed a reputation as one of the greatest military tacticians in modern history. Soleimani became commander of the Quds Force in 1988 and formulated Iran’s military interventions in the Syrian Civil War, the war against ISIS, and operations in support of Shi’a sociopolitical groups throughout the Middle East. Due to his active role in the Iranian armed forces and fierce defense of both Iranian territorial integrity and the ideals of the Iranian Revolution, Soleimani became a universally respected figure within Iran and an icon of the cause of anti-imperialism worldwide

Qasem Soleimani was killed on January 3, 2020, by a US drone that struck a two-car convoy carrying Soleimani on an access road near Baghdad International Airport. The assassination marked a high point in tensions between Iran and the Trump administration, which pursued a “maximum pressure” policy against Iran that included the US withdrawal from a landmark nuclear deal and Iran’s subsequent increase in its nuclear activities. Days after Soleimani was killed, Iran launched a missile attack on a US-occupied base in Iraq that wounded 110 US troops.

The terror bombings in Iran on January 3 came during another period of rising regional tensions stemming from the war in Gaza. Iranian-backed militant groups in Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon have staged almost daily attacks in retaliation for Israel’s military offensive, with many of the attacks targeting its principal ally, the US.

Matthew Rosehttp://ourpolitics.net
Matt studies and analyzes politics at all levels. He is the creator of OurPolitics.net, a scholarly resource exploring political trends, political theory, political economy, philosophy, and more. He hopes that his articles can encourage more people to gain knowledge about politics and understand the impact that public policy decisions have on their lives. Matt is also involved in the preservation of recorded sound through IASA International Bibliography of Discographies, and is an avid record collector.

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