Khamenei vows revenge after deadly attack on pilgrims

Photo: Tasnim news agency.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Thursday to retaliate against those threatening his country’s security after the deasly attack on Shi’ite pilgrims.

The attack was claimed by Daesh which threatens to inflame tensions amid widespread anti-government protests.

Khamenei said the assailants “will surely be punished” and called on Iranians to unite.

“We all have a duty to deal with the enemy and its traitorous or ignorant agents,” he said in a statement read on state television a day after the attack killed 15 people and wounded at least 40 others.

Khamenei’s call for unity appeared to be directed mostly at government loyalists and not protesters whose nearly six-week-old movement is seen by authorities as a threat to national security.

The Iranian regime has faced nationwide demonstrations since the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, on September 16.

According to Reuters report, Iranians have called for the death of Khamenei and an end to the Islamic Republic during the protests, which have become one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution, drawing many Iranians on to the streets.

Iranian officials said they had arrested at least two gunmen who carried out the attack at the Shah Cheragh shrine in the city of Shiraz.

State media blamed “takfiri terrorists” – a label that predominantly Shi’ite Iran uses for hardline Sunni Muslim militants such as Daesh.

A senior official said the suspected attacker was in critical condition after being shot by police.

“We have not been able to interrogate him yet,” said deputy provincial governor Easmail Mohebipour, quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.