Iranian police forces have killed four individuals with alleged ties to the Islamic State in the southern province of Hormozgan, the Iranian media reported today. Azizollah Maleki, the provincial police chief, said an Islamic State flag, machine guns and explosives were also confiscated. Five other suspects were also detained for questioning. Maleki added two of the individuals killed were foreign nationals, and that the identities of the other two had not been established yet. The individuals were reportedly killed during an armed clash with the security forces in mountainous regions near the Roudan County.
Comment: The twin attacks in Tehran and the arrest of dozens of individuals and groups allegedly linked with the Islamic Republic point to Iran’s growing terrorism problem.
Last Wednesday, terrorists killed 17 and wounded more than 40 others in almost simultaneous attacks against two well-guarded places in the Iranian capital: the parliament building and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic’s founder. After the attack, Iranian security forces announced the arrest of 41 individuals allegedly linked with the Islamic State across the country. “Following a series of complex intelligence operations and with the cooperation of family members of some terrorists in provinces of Kermanshah, Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan and Tehran, 41 members of Wahabi groups of Daesh [Islamic State] – including their operational teams, communications and logistical bridgeheads, some documents, and equipment for terrorist operations – were arrested and confiscated before they acted,” the Iranian Intelligence Ministry claimed in a statement.
After the attacks, there are growing fears in Iran – particularly among the country’s ethnic and religious minorities – that the security authorities would use the attacks as a pretext to further clamp down on social liberties and political rights of the Iranian citizens.
In the video released by the Islamic State, one of the Tehran attackers speak in Kurdish language. That prompted the Kurdish minority’s representatives in the Iranian parliament to issue a statement condemning the Tehran attacks and emphasizing that terrorists belonged to no ethnic or religious groups in the country. Iran’s Writers’ Association also warned that the attacks should not be used as a n excuse to further limit sociopolitical freedoms in the country.