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Iranian hard-liners use Tehran attacks to snipe at Rouhani

Though Iranian hard-liners have quickly seized the June 7 terrorist attacks in Tehran as an opportunity to rally forces, it is unclear whether their security-focused discourse will gain steam.
People attend the funeral of the victims who were killed on the June 7 attack at the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum, in Tehran, Iran June 9, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY? - RTX39TEM

In the aftermath of the June 7 terrorist attacks in Tehran claimed by the Islamic State (IS), Iranian Reformists and moderates have sought to overcome the heightened factional divisions lingering from the recent presidential elections. Indeed, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Mohammad Reza Aref and Mostafa Tajzadeh among many other Reformist politicians have called for national unity. In contrast, conservative and hard-line politicians have not missed the opportunity to target their rivals. Even as bullets were flying inside parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a political offensive against moderate President Hassan Rouhani kicked off. Rather than a cause for national unity, the attacks in Tehran marked the beginning of a new bout of political infighting.

The easiest and most vulnerable target for hard-liner attacks is anyone who opposed Iranian involvement in Syria. Indeed, conservatives have used the Tehran attacks to reiterate once again that if Iran had not been involved in Syria and Iraq, it would’ve been fighting IS in the streets of the Iranian capital on a daily basis. Noteworthy among these voices is Ahmad Tavakoli, a conservative former member of parliament. In a tweet amid the terrorist attacks on June 7, Tavakoli lambasted Gholamhossein Karbaschi, the Reformist former mayor of Tehran, for his remarks on April 30 denouncing Iranian military engagement in Syria and advocating a solution based on political negotiations.

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