A deadly stabbing attack took place this week at a holy site in the city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran.
Tehran, Iran – A deadly stabbing attack on a holy shrine in Iran’s northeastern city of Mashhad earlier this week was an attempt to drive a wedge between Muslims and nations, officials said.
Tuesday’s attack, the fourth day of Iran’s holy month of Ramadan, came as large crowds gathered in the courtyard of Imam Reza’s shrine, which is visited by millions every year.
Tasnim news agency identified the attacker as 21-year-old Abdolatif Moradi, an ethnic Uzbek who entered Iran illegally via the Pakistani border a year ago.
He then showed an alleged video of the attacker in which he expresses his contempt for Shia beliefs.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi denounced the “terrorist” attack at the shrine in which a spiritual leader was killed and two others seriously injured.
“This bitter event shows that the enemy has not ceased its efforts to sow discord,” he said, without directly blaming any specific country or organization.
Vahidi added that “this is a blind movement designed by Western countries” and those who propagate “takfiri” thought – a term describing the extremism of Muslims who label others as apostates and condemn them to dead.
President Ebrahim Raisi, who once headed the foundation that runs the holy shrine, said Wednesday that “colonialists and hypocritical Muslims must not be allowed to use ethnic and religious divisions to sow discord between Muslims and the people of our country and our neighbours.
Videos of the attack showed the attacker tackled to the ground and apprehended by people at the shrine.
He was later taken into custody and Iranian media reported that several people who helped him in the attack had been arrested.
On Thursday, a public funeral procession for the deceased, Mohammad Aslani, brought together thousands of people in Mashhad.
Flowers were laid at the scene of the attack in the courtyard of the mausoleum.