ISIS Claims Responsibility For Iran Bomb Strike

( – Islamic State has asserted responsibility for the recent bombings in Iran, claiming nearly 100 lives and injuring numerous individuals at a memorial for Qassem Soleimani. The extremist Sunni Muslim group declared via its affiliated Telegram channels that two of its members detonated explosive belts in the gathering at the cemetery in Kerman.

The memorial commemorated the fourth anniversary of Soleimani’s death, who was assassinated in Iraq in 2020 by a U.S. drone.

White House spokesman John Kirby stated that the United States does not dispute Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the attack. Iran has vowed strong retaliation, with First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber affirming that the soldiers of Soleimani will mete out severe consequences.

The twin blasts, the deadliest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, wounded 284 people, including children. Iranian authorities have called for mass protests during the funerals of the victims, scheduled for Friday. The Revolutionary Guard Corps denounced the attacks as a cowardly act aiming to create insecurity and retaliate against the nation’s deep loyalty to the Islamic Republic.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi condemned the “heinous and inhumane crime,” while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei promised revenge for the bombings. The United Nations Security Council condemned the “cowardly terrorist attack” and offered condolences to the victims’ families and the Iranian government.

Although details about the attackers and their motives remain unclear, experts, including Aaron Zelin from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, suggest the possible involvement of the Islamic State branch known as ISIS-Khorasan based in Afghanistan. Tehran has previously accused ISIS-K of plotting numerous foiled attacks in the last five years.

ISIS has a history of targeting Shiites, viewed as apostates, with threats against Tehran. A Taliban crackdown has weakened ISIS-K in Afghanistan, prompting some members to move to neighboring states. The group continues to plan operations outside the country, raising concerns, according to a U.S. National Counterterrorism Center report.

The attack parallels an escalation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza. Iranian state TV showed crowds chanting anti-Israel and anti-America slogans. The United States denied involvement in the explosions and dismissed Israeli involvement, attributing the blasts to a terrorist attack consistent with past actions by Islamic State.

Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated in 2020 following the U.S. drone assassination of Soleimani, chief commander of the Quds force, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps’ overseas arm. Soleimani played a key role in Iran’s efforts to expel U.S. forces from the Middle East.