|Not your Mother's Tehran: The expanding Iranian capital Tehran near the Caspian Sea and the Alborz Mountains has been growing steadily since the 1970s. It has been a metropolis for well over 100 years.|
Times of India: Suicide bombing attacks on Parliament and Khomeini Tomb
Today, two suicide bombers attacked both the Iranian parliament and the Tomb of Atoyallah Khomeini the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Some 12 innocent people have been confirmed dead. The parliamentary attack occurred during the usual parliamentary session. Most of the MPs didn't realize that the attack had happened until they were urged to safety. Contrary to the media stereotype about being a land solely of strict religious ayatollahs, Iran is a relatively safe and welcoming country. It's one of the last remaining safe countries in Central Asia and the Middle East. Until today, ISIS has not been able to attack anyone inside Iran itself. Also unlike the Western media portrays, terrorist attacks in Tehran and in other Iranian cities are rare. Much like bombings were rare in Syria prior 201l Arab Spring. The suicide attacks a first in Tehran, took many city residents and Iranians as a whole by surprise. Coincidentally, Iran just celebrated Khomeini yesterday Tehran time. Security around Iranian Parliament is generally tight but ordinary citizens are allowed to visit parliament and school children do take field trips to parliament and so on. The terrorists were all shot dead. ISIS has taken responsibility immediately. Whereas its usual response is to wait a few days and than take responsibility after the public's initial shock has ebbed down.
There have been clashes with ISIS groups on the borders and in neighboring countries. Iran has been fighting ISIS along with Hezbullah, Iraq and Syrian government. No one in the Middle East or Africa tolerates nor accepts ISIS anywhere on their territories or in their hearts and minds. Like the Kurds, the Iranians see ISIS as the personification of evil in human form. Iranian intelligence has been providing support and logistics to Iraqi army and Hezbullah to fight ISIS in both Syria and Iraq before ISIS manages to reach Lebanon.
This attack comes on the heels of ISIS recent attacks in other countries, Kabul, London, Manchester, and now ISIS is trying to hijack the local insurgency in Mindanao in Southern Philippines for its own benefit. The recent visit by Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia and Israel left a large amount of bad blood between Saudi and its Gulf monarchy brothers. Due to false news and rumors via email accusing the Emirati foreign minister supporting Iran, Hamas and Hezbullah and by a long stretch Israel, the Gulf Monarchy alliance is cracking. The Gulf monarchy let that slide. But the biggest blow to the alliance came when it was revealed although it has been common knowledge for years that Qatar was supporting takfiri terrorist group such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. Saudi Arabia the biggest supporter of the takfiri groups and the godfather of the Wahhabi and Salafi movements and ideology was the first one to condemn Qatar for its support of ISIS without looking in the mirror itself. Qatar is a huge media power throughout the Arabic speaking countries. Al Jazeera being popular and has challenged Saudi on numerous occasions. Like sheep, Saudi's closest allies Bahrain, UAE, Egypt (even though its not a Gulf country its African) literally over a few days have broken all diplomatic ties with Qatar and have order Qatari citizens in Bahrain, UAE, Saudi, Egypt and elsewhere to leave in two weeks. Ordinary Qataris are worried that imports from the Kingdom would be lost if the border between them in the Kingdom were sealed permanently. Being an island nation with one land border to Saudi, ordinary Qataris rely on food imports coming in from Saudi-Qatari border. Ordinary Saudis, Bahrainis and Emiratis have just been shaking their heads to the recent Qatar boycott by their respective governments.
Geopolitics of rivalry between Saudi Arabia and IranSaudi Arabia has been attempting for years to place the blame for terrorist attacks in Syria, Iraq, Kabul and around the world squarely on Tehran. The U.S. and Israel without irony have also taken up the "Iran is the enemy" mantra of Saudi monarchy. Saudi and Iran have had an ongoing and public rivalry over which country will be the regional superpower of the Middle East. The rivalry is more political and economic than religious. The Kingdom wants to be the main controller of the literal flow of oil, OPEC and be the main decision maker on oil prices. Saudi has been trying to keep its own geopolitical interests and control over strategic air, sea and political manoeuvrings in the region while keeping Iranian political or regional influences completely out of the Gulf and Mesopotamia region to no avail. Iran in turn, has supported Iraq and provide funding and training to Hezbullah in Lebanon in its fight against Israel originally during the Lebanese Civil War and more recently against ISIS. Iran has investments and interests in Iraq, Syria and now in countries such as Sudan and UAE. It also has a large ton of oil sitting in its soil.
One reason being is geography has aided Iran its national security. It is a mountainous country and the capital Tehran is far away from the East and Western land borders. Two seas border Iran to the North and South. Tehran is closer to the Caspian Sea while Southern Iran is located along the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz where most of the world's oil enters and exits from Saudi. Anyway, Iranian navy could blockade the Strait if it wished. Beside the geopolitics, Iran is much like the less traveled countries of Middle East and Central Asia ie Oman and Kazakhstan. The country has thousands of years of Ancient history, monuments, languages and cultures. Iranian hospitality is legendary and visitors are treated with the utmost respect after getting to know Iranians.