Iran’s Khamenei says attacks to increase hatred towards US and Saudi

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday attacks in Tehran by Islamic State that killed at least 17 people will increase hatred towards the United States and Saudi Arabia, state TV reported.

Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum in Tehran on Wednesday. Scores of people were wounded.

“It will not damage our nation’s determination to fight terrorism … but will only increase hatred for the governments of the United States and their stooges in the region like Saudis,” Khamenei said in a message read at the funeral of victims of the attacks.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks and threatened more against Iran’s majority Shi’ite population, seen by the hardline Sunni militants as heretics.

Iranian authorities said on Thursday five of the attackers were Iranian nationals recruited by Islamic State to carry out the assaults inside the tightly controlled Shi’ite Iran.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps blamed the assault on regional rival Saudi Arabia and has threatened revenge. Sunni Saudi Arabia denied any involvement in the attacks.

The assaults have further fuelled tension between Riyadh and Tehran as they vie for control of the Gulf and influence in the wider Islamic world.

Iran is one of the powers leading the fight against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria.