Iran’s Islamic State Problem Isn’t Going Away

By Alex Vatanka | Senior Fellow - Middle East Institute | Jun 19, 2017
Iran’s Islamic State Problem Isn’t Going Away

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On Sunday, six ballistic missiles launched by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched from western Iran, and came crashing down on their targets in Syria’s eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor. The attack, Iranian officials said, was retaliation for the Islamic Sate’s June 7 terror attacks in Tehran, which left 18 people dead.  An IRGC spokesman said the attack was also a “warning message” for the terror group’s “regional and international allies.”

Iran’s top leadership has left little doubt who it believes those allies are. In an earlier speech, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded to President Donald Trump’s remarks accusing Iran of being the godfather of terrorism in the Middle East. “You [the United States] and your agents are the source of instability in the Middle East,” the Iranian leader charged. “Who created the Islamic State? America.”

Iran’s terror problem, however, cannot be resolved by lobbing ballistic missiles at eastern Syria or rhetorical bombs at the United States. The June 7 terror attack by five lightly armed but well-organized terrorists against two of Iran’s top landmarks — the parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic — serve as a stark reminder of the dangers of blowback from Iran’s multiple interventions in the Arab world. Without some kind of introspection, Iran will likely remain in the line of fire of Sunni jihadis for a long time to come.

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