ISIS has taken responsibility for the Wednesday attack on a shrine in Shiraz but many Iranians are not convinced the regime had no part in it, saying it is a scenario for cracking down harder on protesters.
The attack which the authorities call a “terrorist attack by Takfiris” killed at least 15 people and injured dozens more. Iranian state media say two people linked to the incident have been arrested and a manhunt is underway to capture the third.
Hours after the raid, Reuters quoted a statement from ISIS telegram channel saying that the group claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has also released their statement through its affiliated Amaq news agency that said one of its members had “targeted groups of Sunni refusal infidels inside the shrine with his machine gun, causing the death of tens of them.”
Many Iranian, however, have accused the regime of being behind the attack or orchestrating it to blame protesters at home for causing unrest and insecurity and justify harsher crackdown on protesters.
“Which ISIS force has ever launched an attack without an explosive belt? Why don’t security forces consider the possibility of an explosive belt when arresting the attackers?” a tweet posted by one of the sceptics asked.
“The incident at Shahcheragh is a self-inflicted damage by the Islamic republic to prevent gatherings at the tomb of Cyrus the Great on his birth anniversary on October 29th. Don’t be fooled by their tricks and don’t be distracted from your revolution,” another tweet said.
Others have questioned the easy entrance of the attacker into a shrine despite the usual heavy security measures. “Which stupid terrorist takes such a big weapon with him for an operation without any security cover? Doesn’t the Shahcharagh shrine have [security] at its gate?”
“Let’s suppose the protesters were complicit in the attack on Shahcheragh, but whose fault is it that a significant part of the society does not accept your narrative?” journalist Hadi Mousavi asked in a tweet.
“This time, the child-killing and terrorist regime opened a new chapter in its terrorist acts by desecrating the holy shrine of Shahcheragh and killing defenseless people. Our slogan as of today would be ‘IRGC is ISIS, It is the one who kills pilgrims’, “ an anonymous group called the Youth of Isfahan Neighborhoods tweeted.
Meanwhile, Masoud Kazemi, a political activist, in a tweet accused the Islamic Republic of perpetrating this terrorist act saying that, “The survival of the Islamic Republic is in jeopardy and the regime’s has escalated its fake and abusive actions.”
Fariborz Karimi Zand, a former police officer and one of the opponents of the Islamic Republic, in a tweet called the attack “psychological warfare” and sacrificing insiders or civilians to eclipse news of protests. “Nothing should distract us from our main goal which is to overthrow the Islamic Republic.”
Some people have noted a similarity with a 1994 terrorist attack on the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad which killed and injured dozens of people. Although a Sunni group claimed responsibility, the Iranian government laid the blame on the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK). However, the former Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri claimed said in his trial in 1999 that it was a false flag attack by the Iranian regime to discredit MEK.
Authorities have been claiming that “separatists” and “instigators” are behind the efforts to overthrow the government and break Iran into areas controlled by ethnic groups