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Posted:Jun 12, 2017
 
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Nothing can be more sacrilegious than committing murder on holy ground. Both the Majlis and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini are sacred grounds in Iran. The recent terror attack on these two sites in Tehran thus had something more ominous as their intention than just causing mayhem and bloodshed. By striking at Iran's faith and pride, the twin attacks intended to provoke the harshest reaction from the country. Not surprisingly, the attacks have turned out to be the brainchild of those affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, the terror outfit that stands to gain the most if Iran reacts along expected lines. 
 
The calculation may soon prove to be unerringly correct. Iran has laid the blame on the doors of Saudi Arabia and its ally, the United States of America, both of whom have re-affirmed their anti-Tehran stance lately. The coming days may see Shiite retribution in the form of a backlash against Sunni-US forces fighting the ISIS in Iraq, Syria and even Yemen for, lest one forget, these have always been the sites of proxy battles. There may even be sectarian clashes at home and abroad. 
 
In fact, anything can happen to deepen the sectarian divide, expand the pool of angry, befuddled people from which extremist outfits draw their warriors and jeopardize the fight against the ISIS that Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US and other nations are fighting in their own disparate ways.
To turn the tables on its attackers, Iran has to think differently. It is possible that the recent Saudi-US bonding may have provided the context for the twin attacks, but they could not have happened without elaborate planning and coordination for days. Iran also needs to look deep inside - especially towards its tiny, disgruntled Sunni minority - to explore if it is justified in laying the entire blame at the doors of Saudi Arabia. 
 
Most importantly, this is the time to de-mythify terrorism, to dissociate it from the trappings of faith and religion and to see it for the pure evil that it is. Unfortunately, no country that has a vested interest in continuing with the status quo is willing to do that. With a revanchist US muddying the waters, a Saudi leadership intent on expanding Sunni imperialism, an Iran on the verge of reverting back to dogma to sustain its might, and opportunist Turkey and Russia poised to choose their sides, West Asia seems headed for increased turbulence.
 
 
 
 
 
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