‘Heinous’: World reacts to twin blasts that kill dozens in Iran

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People gather at the scene of twin explosions during a ceremony held to mark the death of late Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, in Kerman, Iran, on January 3, 2024 [West Asia News Agency via Reuters]

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, promised a ‘harsh response’ to attack in southeastern city of Kerman.

Two explosions have killed nearly 100 people and wounded over 200 others at a ceremony in Iran to commemorate the death of top commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in 2020.

Wednesday’s attacks took place in the southeastern city of Kerman along the road leading to Kerman’s Martyrs’ Cemetery.

While no one has claimed responsibility and it was not immediately clear what caused the blasts, Iranian officials have blamed a “terrorist attack”.

“The evil and criminal enemies of the Iranian nation once again created a disaster and martyred a large number of dear people in Kerman,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a statement. “This disaster will have a harsh response, God willing.”

In a statement, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said, “Undoubtedly, the perpetrators … of this cowardly act will soon be identified and punished for their heinous act by the capable security and law enforcement forces. The enemies of the nation should know that such actions can never disrupt the solid determination of the Iranian nation.”

Here are some global reactions in the aftermath of the deadly blasts.

People disperse near the site where two explosions in quick succession struck a crowd marking the anniversary of the 2020 killing of Guards general Qasem Soleimani, near the Saheb al-Zaman Mosque in the southern Iranian city of Kerman
People disperse near the site where twin explosions struck a crowd, near the Saheb al-Zaman Mosque in the southern Iranian city of Kerman [Mehr News/AFP]

European Union

The EU demanded that the perpetrators of the twin blasts be brought to justice and condemned the attack.

“The EU condemns in the strongest terms today’s bombing in the city of Kerman in Iran. The EU expresses its solidarity with the Iranian people. This act of terror has exacted a shocking toll of civilian deaths and injuries,” an EU foreign affairs spokesperson said in a statement.

“Our thoughts now are with the victims and their families. Perpetrators must be held accountable.”

Hezbollah

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, said those who were commemorating the death of Soleimani were “targeted”.

He added that those who died were “martyrs who died on the same road, cause and battle that was led by” Soleimani.

Houthis

The Yemeni group condemned what it called the “criminal bombings” on the anniversary of Soleimani’s death.

“This heinous crime represents an extension of all the crimes that attempted to undermine the Islamic Republic, its role in confronting global arrogance, its adoption of the nation’s central cause, and its support for the resistance forces in Palestine and Lebanon,” a statement reads.

Iraq

The government issued a statement condemning the explosion and described it as a “terrorist attack in Kerman”.

“In a show of solidarity, our government stands with Iran, expressing support for both the Iranian government and its people during this difficult time.”

“Iraq expresses willingness to offer various forms of assistance, aiming to alleviate the impact of this cowardly criminal act.”

Russia

President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to Iran’s leadership, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a Kremlin statement.

Putin condemned “terrorism in all its forms” and said the attack on peaceful people was “shocking in its cruelty and cynicism”.

Turkey

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his condolences and condemned the attack.

“We are deeply saddened by the heinous terrorist attacks carried out in Iran’s Kerman province. May God have mercy on those who lost their lives in the attacks, and I wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured,” he said in a post on X.

“I express my condolences to the friendly and brotherly Iranian people.”

United Nations

UN chief Antonio Guterres offered his condolences for those killed and called for the perpetrators to be held accountable.

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the attack today on a memorial ceremony in Kerman city in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which reportedly killed more than 100 people and injured many more,” a statement from his spokesperson reads.

“The Secretary-General calls for those responsible to be held accountable. The Secretary-General expresses his deep condolences to the bereaved families and the people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He wishes the injured a speedy recovery.”

United States

US officials rejected any suggestion that it or ally Israel was behind deadly blasts in Iran. Soleimani was killed four years ago in a US drone strike.

“The United States was not involved in any way, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous,” Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller said of Wednesday’s blasts.

“We have no reason to believe that Israel was involved in this explosion,” he added during a daily news briefing. Separately, White House national security spokesman John Kirby also said the US had seen no indication that Israel was behind the blasts.

“We do express our sympathies to the victims and their loved ones who died in this horrific explosion,” Miller said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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