The White House, through national security spokesperson John Kirby, stated Wednesday, Jan. 3, that it has found no evidence of Israel’s involvement in the explosions in Iran, which killed nearly 100 people during a ceremony commemorating Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani, a commander, was killed in a 2020 U.S. drone strike.
“At this point, we don’t have extensive details about the bombing. We extend our condolences to the innocent victims and their families. We currently lack comprehensive information regarding the incident’s specifics or who might be responsible,” Kirby said.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, addressing a crowd in Tehran following the explosions, vowed that “the Zionist regime will pay the price.” Esmail Ghaani, head of Iran’s elite Quds force, echoed this sentiment, targeting “the Zionist regime and criminal America.”
Iranian Health Minister Bahram Eynollahi reported the death toll at 95, revised down from 103, with 211 injured. This makes it the deadliest attack in the Islamic Republic’s history, which has previously faced incidents from various groups, including Islamic State.
Iran has historically accused Israel of orchestrating attacks within its borders, allegations Israel has neither confirmed nor denied. However, no evidence suggests foreign state involvement in the recent cemetery explosions.
Several countries, including Russia and Turkey, have condemned the attacks, and the U.N. Secretary-General has called for accountability for those responsible.