Explosion at IRGC Building in Tehran Was Not A Terrorist Act, Iranian Media Says

Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters. Source: KAYHAN LONDON

By Hamed Mohammadi

On December 30, an unknown person or persons reportedly detonated a small homemade explosive device outside the entrance to the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (GHORB) — the engineering wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — in Tehran’s affluent northwestern District 2, known as Shahrak-e Gharb.

There has been no official word on the extent of the damage to the building so far. However, footage published on social media, allegedly by the perpetrators of the act, shows no severe structural damage to the GHORB’s HQ, which suggests that the explosive device must not have been that powerful.

Iranian state media have been quick to dismiss the report, insisting that the incident was not terror-related.

“In the past few hours, anti-revolutionary and hostile media have reported a terrorist attack on the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, none of which is true,” the Young Journalists Club (YJC) news website said on December 31. “An unknown person riding a motorcycle threw a handmade firecracker at the building yesterday morning, setting a banner which was hanging on the exterior wall on fire. The building was not damaged. Authorities are reviewing footage from CCTVs in and around the building to identify the person.”

No person or group has claimed responsibility for the incident so far. Many people on social media have been speculating about the identity of the culprits and their motives.

Several activists on social media have suggested that the People’s Mojahedin Organization (MKO) carried out the attack. However, the organization has not commented on the incident yet.

Some online sources with links to the MKO have reported the incident using the hashtag #revolutionarycouncils.

Members of the “revolutionary councils” — better known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political wing of the MKO — reportedly operate as the organization’s foot soldiers inside Iran.

@PMOIRON tweeted on December 30: “To mark the 40th day of the passing of the martyrs of the October protests, young revolutionaries attacked the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, which is the center of the IRGC’s criminal activities in Tehran, on the morning of December 30. The attack was also in retaliation to the brutal crackdown on innocent protesters. #revolutionary councils #overthrow #nationwide protests.”

@RadioMojahed tweeted on December 30: “An attack on the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters #IRGC. #revolutionary councils #IranProtests.”

The accompanying footage showed a small blast in front of a building.

The caption to the footage read: “The attack on the GHORB’s HQ was crucial but was not enough. Velayat-e Faqih’s [guardianship of the Islamic jurist] IRGC HQ must be destroyed. Children of Iran will achieve this goal. They will avenge the martyrs. We will not forgive or forget. The MKO and National Liberation Army of Iran have superior weapons.”

There is no further information available about the blast. That has not stopped political observers and experts on Iran to speculate about the motives behind the incident.

In a recent video clip, Hooshang Amirahmadi, a professor of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and a candidate in the Iranian presidential elections in 2005, 2013 and 2017, suggested that the incident was a professional job carried out on the orders of some elements within the government who wished to create a rift between the IRGC and people.

“The GHORB’s HQ played no role in brutalizing and killing protesters,” Mr. Amirahmadi argued. “The organization is, in fact, very popular with people because it helps the poor and the disadvantaged. The explosion was not carried out by ordinary people. It is part of the internal fighting between the government and the regime.”

“The IRGC played a small part in the recent protests,” Amirahmadi added. “Fortunately, it did not take part in the killings. Those who murdered protesters were special security units that operated under the auspices of the government and [President] Hassan Rouhani.”

The incident at the GHORB’s HQ occurred a day after a major fire engulfed the newly built luxury Rose Mall in Tehran’s affluent northern District 22. The shopping center is one of several commercial projects sponsored by the IRGC near Chitgar Lake, an artificial and recreational lake in the northwest side of Tehran.

The recent incidents reveal a severe security crisis in the country irrespective of whether it was a planned attack against the Islamic Republic or a turf war between various political factions and economic mafias within the regime.

An explosion in front of the GHORB’s HQ is not an insignificant occurrence. It poses a real problem to the IRGC and the regime.

Shahabuddin Bimeghdar, a Majlis (Iranian Parliament) deputy representing Tabriz, capital of the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan, has criticized the security forces for their vicious assaults against the protesters in October and has warned that the heavy-handed approach will only result in more unrest.

“They [authorities] should have allowed the grieving families to mourn at the funerals of their loved ones,” Mr. Bimeghdar said in an interview with the Jahan-e Sanat newspaper on December 28. “That is not the way to solve the issue. Military forces cannot get results. They cannot stop people. If the coercive force were the answer, then martial law would have produced results a long time ago.”

“No country can survive without the support of its people,” Bimeghdar warned.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]