Following the twin terror attacks in Iran that killed at least 16 people, more than one Middle Eastern dissident stated in exclusive interviews that perhaps what happened in the Iranian Parliament building and in Khomeini’s mausoleum was an inside job perpetrated by the Iranian regime.
Following the twin terror attacks in Iran that killed at least 16 people, ISIS claimed responsibility for them on its affiliated website. However, more than one Middle Eastern dissident stated in exclusive interviews that perhaps what happened in the Iranian Parliament building and in Khomeini’s mausoleum was an inside job perpetrated by the Iranian regime. According to Iranian human rights activist Kaveh Taheri, “This is likely to be closer to the reality if you focus on the tragic events.”
“It could be completely staged,” Iranian journalist Mohsen Behzad Karimi related. “There is a big chance due to the security measures and the wrong date. If it was an ISIS attack, they would do it two days earlier, when thousands of people were commemorating Khomeini’s death in the same place. In addition, penetrating the parliament is impossible. There are three layers of security.” As one of the victims related, “We are not allowed to bring a pen into the Iranian Parliament but the attackers easily fired at us in the building.”
Iranian dissident Shabnam Assadollahi added that the attackers were dressed as women wearing chadors and they shot most of the victims in the legs, which is not ISIS style terrorism: “Have you ever seen ISIS members shooting at people like that? They create horror in public areas for ISIS creates fear among ordinary people. They don’t shoot in the legs. They behead people. They don’t go to parliaments. I believe it was a plan to create victimhood.”
Syrian Kurdish dissident Sherkoh Abbas concurred, stressing that the Iranian regime wanted to portray Sunnis in a negative light especially after the GCC meeting on the Iranian threat and Trump’s meeting with the Saudis. Middle East scholar Robert Sklaroff stressed that Trump developed a strategy in recent times to rid the world of ISIS without empowering Iran: “And that is why he has embedded Americans with Kurdish forces attacking Raqqa for it is impossible to be a player without having placed pieces on the board.” He added that in recent times, the Sunni Gulf Arab countries are more pro-NATO than pro-Ankara and they are very hostile towards Iran, which is why these countries are increasingly cooperating with the US.
According to Abbas, all of these developments are not positive for the Islamic Republic: “Now the Iranians are going to the next step, which is the GCC and other Sunni Arabs are behind horrible terror acts within Iran to make themselves as a victim and to distance themselves from ISIS.” He implied that this is an Iranian strategy to derail America’s relations with these countries. In addition, Abbas argued that the twin attacks can be used to justify Iran’s presence in both Syria and Iraq as well as to crack down further upon their own people: “When you have a terror attack, people prefer security over freedom and democracy.”
Aside from the issues mentioned above, these twin attacks in Iran occurred at a time when the Iraqi Kurds are preparing a referendum on independence and Abbas noted that there is an alliance between Russia, Iran and Turkey to thwart Kurdish national aspirations: “They agreed on a safe zone in Syria with the blessing of Assad. That tells you there is an understanding and agreement. This is a marriage of convenience. The Kurds are in the middle and are targeted by Iran and Turkey. The twin attacks gives them legitimacy to stay in Iraq and Syria to thwart Kurdish national aspirations. Before, they had no reason for there were no attacks on them.”
According to Karimi, even if ISIS was responsible, they had to have been given a free pass by the regime to implement the terror attack: “They let it happen. It was a very good moment. It happened on the very day that the US Senate was to decide on Iranian Revolutionary Guard terrorist activity. At the same time, there were a lot of activities going on about Iran in the EU. It was the right moment from the Iranian regimes point of view to victimize themselves and to show the world that they are also under attack.” Abbas argued that some of ISIS is compromised by the Iranian regime: “ISIS is not a homogenous group. There are ISIS groups that you can call on as needed. Many of those ISIS groups are Syrian military and intelligence officials. These staged things occurred in the past in Syria in order to coerce Kurds, Christians and others in order to submit that Assad is their only protector so they can’t shift to any other alliance.”
In some corners, the Iranian regime clearly benefited from these twin attacks, giving credit to claims that the twin attacks were an inside job. Canada’s Foreign Minister mourned the two attacks in Iran but she did not condemn Iran for assisting the Taliban and deporting ISIS to Afghanistan. Furthermore, Senator Bernie Sanders proclaimed on the US Senate floor: “Let us tell the people of Iran that while we have serious disagreements with them on a number of issues that today when they are mourning and dealing with the shock of a terrorist attack, today is not the day to pass this legislation.”
Assadollahi stressed that as the Cinema Rex Arson Attack demonstrated in 1978, the Iranian regime has no problem committing an act of terror as an inside job and blaming it on others. In the Cinema Rex Arson Attack, which killed at least 470 Iranians, the mullah’s blamed Savak (the Shah’s Secret Police) for the attack but later on, it was proven that the Islamists who now make up the present Iranian regime were responsible for it: “They don’t have any problem terrorizing the nation. They don’t have any love. Their interest is Shia political Islam.” According to Taheri, Iran’s Supreme Leader proclaimed that “terrorist fumbling with firecrackers won’t impact the Iranian nations’ willpower” yet the Iranian regime has not even declared a public day of mourning in solidarity with the victims.
In conclusion, Abbas proclaimed: “If the Arab GCC are serious about the Iranian threat, now is the time to put Arab nationalism behind them and to view the Kurds as allies to prevent the emerging threats of Iran and Turkey. Turkey is interfering in Syria. The Turkish Parliament approved sending its military to Qatar. Iran is supporting Qatar. It is interesting what is going on in that area. They need to view the Kurds and Israel not as a threat. It is easier to win by supporting an independent Kurdistan, Balochistan, and Azeristan. It won’t cost a lot of money like wars. Then you don’t need a few hundred troops to fight the battle. You let the people there fight for themselves and naturally, you benefit from that.”
RACHEL AVRAHAM, MEDIA RESEARCH ANALYST, CENTER FOR NEAR EAST POLICY RESEARCH