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Iran Blames Israel for Beirut Embassy Bombing

Iran blames ‘Zionists’ for deadly terror attack

Al Qaeda linked / AP
• November 19, 2013 2:40 pm

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Iran has blamed Israel for the Tuesday morning bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 23 people and injured more than 100 others.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran takes the Zionists and their mercenaries responsible for this action," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham said.

A person wearing explosive is believed to have detonated himself near the Iranian embassy’s gate just moments before a nearby car bomb exploded, according to multiple reports in the Iranian media.

Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Qazanfar Roknabadi also was quoted as saying "that Zionists have been behind the bombing," according to Iran’s state run Fars News Agency.

The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council was defiant following the attack, saying that it would not deter Iran from backing Hezbollah.

"These attempts will leave no [negative] impact on the course of Iran's continued support for the Islamic resistance movement," Ali Shamkhani said during a meeting with the Syrian Ambassador to Tehran, according to Fars.

Shamkhani went on to say that the attacks are a sign of how "desperate Israel and the terrorist groups working in line with the interests of the Zionist regime in the region feel."

Other reports have indicated that an al Qaeda-aligned group has claimed responsibility for the attack and demanded that the Iranian affiliated terror group Hezbollah withdraw from Syria.

Hezbollah has its base of operations in Lebanon and controls large portions of the country, including regions located near Israel’s northern border.

At least six Iranian embassy staffers have been reported as dead, including Rezwan Fares, who was the compound’s head of security, according to Fars, which posted graphic photos of Fares’ dead body.

Fares reportedly "stopped the suicide-bomber from entering the embassy compound and opened fire on him, when the suicide-bomber exploded his jacket," according to local Beruit officials who spoke to Fars.

Five other embassy guards and Iran's Cultural Attache also were killed in the attack, which comes just a day before Iranian negotiators were scheduled to meet with Western nations for another round of talks over Tehran’s contested nuclear program.

Hezbollah officials have additionally claimed that Israel worked with Saudi Arabia to pull off the attack.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati was quoted as calling the bombs "a cowardly terrorist act" meant to foment discord and chaos in Lebanon.

"We have asked the security apparatuses to speed up the investigations to uncover and arrest the perpetrators," according to Mikati.

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the attacks in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

"The United States strongly condemns today’s senseless and despicable terrorist bombings at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut," Kerry said. "We extend our condolences to the victims and their families. We urge all parties to exercise calm and restraint to avoid inflaming the situation further."

Kerry noted that the United States "knows too well the cost of terrorism directed at our own diplomats around the world."

He also called on the Lebanese government to promote calm and "conduct a thorough investigation."

Hezbollah was not mentioned in Kerry’s statement.

The bombing could be a sign that Syria’s years-long civil war is generating rifts between various sectarian and terrorist groups in the region.

Many in Lebanon have not viewed Iran’s financial boosting and arming of Hezbollah as a positive development in the country.

"The double suicide bombing at the Iranian embassy in Beirut on Tuesday morning was anything but a surprise," Israeli analyst Avi Issacharoff wrote in the Times of Israel.

"In fact, it was almost expected given the battles in Syria between radical Sunni forces, on the one hand and Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards forces on the other, along with the threats by al Qaeda groups in Syria to hit Iranian targets in the area," Issacharoff wrote.

The bombing also comes just days after reports that Israel and Saudi Arabia had teamed up to develop an attack plan aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

While Saudi officials denied the report, some sources maintain that the country has quietly agreed to permit Israel to use its air space during an attack on Iran.

An Israeli government spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Published under: Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia