On June 7, 2017, the capital of Iran was the target of two terrorist attacks. The first at the Parliament, the other at the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini. Claimed by ISIS, these attacks left 13 dead and 39 wounded, and violently shook the country. Until then, Iran was considered an ultra-security state capable of preventing terrorism from expressing itself on its soil. Since these two attacks, what is the state of the terrorist threat in Iran? What are the targets and the means implemented to combat this threat?

Terrorist threat spread across many fronts

Since 2017, Iran is considered as highly exposed to the jihadist threat. Since the beginning of the year, the IS has multiplied the messages with regard to Tehran, in what is considered by the jihadist organization as a religious war between Sunnis and Shiites. In March, the terrorist group published a video which directly provoked Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and said that it will "conquer Iran and return it to the Sunni Muslim nation".

Today, Iran faces this threat on several fronts. The country is threatened in the West, along its border with Iraq, where the Islamic State has established itself. The regime's priority is to prevent jihadists from crossing the border and attacking neighboring provinces. In the West, Iran is also concerned about Iranian Kurdistan, where the terrorists who attacked Teheran originated. Radicalization is not a new phenomenon in the provinces of Iranian Kurdistan, which since 2003 has been influenced by neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan. As a result, this region is particularly watched over by the Iranian authorities. On the other hand, the country is threatened in the East on the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, especially affected by poverty and trafficking. What was historically a separatism of the Baluchi people has evolved into terrorism, facilitated by the porous borders and resources associated with drug trafficking. Today, the rebels of the East claim to be jihadists, like the group Jaish al-Adl, which continues the attacks in Sistan-Baluchistan.

On the other hand, the terrorist threat is spreading in Iran on another front: the internal front. The Iranian citizens seize the subject and may in turn constitute a threat, as evidenced by the nationality of the perpetrators of the attacks of 7 June. Iranian journalist Mariam Pirzadeh says: "This country is very secure, it is a fortress in the middle of chaos of the Middle East. What is happening today shows that we are entering a new era. "Daesh understood the infiltrated role that Iranian Sunnis can play in its fight against Tehran. This year, propaganda targeting this population has increased, in Farsi ...

However, with the backing of the Islamic State, if the threat that Daesh represents is still present, it is necessary to underline that it is running out of steam. With 10,000 to 15,000 troops on Syrian soil in late 2016, Iran has largely participated in IS's military defeat.

Measures implemented and recommendations

In the days following the attacks, the Iranian authorities claimed to have foiled several attacks, and to have tightened border controls, by establishing a 40-kilometer buffer zone with Iraq. Iran is implementing a reinforced global security throughout its territory. Nevertheless, if the fight against terrorism is paramount at the regional level, the Iranian regime must devote a real effort to the integration of the Sunni minority in the population, an essential element of the fight against terrorism.

International companies that establish economic activities in Iran are fully aware of the level of the threat ... From a security point of view, Iran is, in the words of Mariam Pirzadeh, "one of the safest countries in the world"… Testimonies of tourists and expatriates, more and more numerous in Iran since the partial lifting of the sanctions in January 2016, corroborate this affirmation, and mention the impact of the very large numbers of the police and the army.

However, in the context of terrorist threats, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises travelers traveling to Iran to exercise greater vigilance when traveling, especially around the busy sites of major cities. It is strongly advised to stay away from any gathering, demonstration, ceremony, procession or crowd movement, whether it is authorized events or not. In addition, the ‘Quai d'Orsay’ has drawn up a map of risks in Iran and recommends to postpone any unnecessary movement in the orange zone, the red zone being formally discouraged.

Anyway, in early 2018, Iran is at a turning point, which is the question of the succession of Supreme Leader Imam Khamenei…

13/06/2018 - Toute reproduction est interdite.


Iranians attend the funeral of the victims, who were killed on the June 7 terrorist attack in Tehran, Iran June 9, 2017
De Jade Ouvrard