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What Iranian Regime’s Contradictions and Post-Kerman Bombing Power Displays Cannot Hide

iran kerman bombing aftermath

Three minutes read

Several days have passed since the bombing at a ceremony in Kerman, held to honor the slain Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, resulting in the deaths of dozens of participants. However, rather than gaining clarity, the situation remains shrouded in uncertainty. Furthermore, the contradictory statements and actions of Iranian state officials further add to the mystery.

Within hours of the news breaking, Iranians both at home and abroad flooded Persian-language social media, accusing the regime of orchestrating the attack. Drawing on past events like the bombing of the Imam Reza Shrine in 1994 and numerous other instances where the regime committed crimes and shifted blame to its enemies, Iranians across various political affiliations unanimously pointed fingers at the state.

Several questions have surfaced regarding the Kerman incident. Why wasn’t Soleimani’s daughter present in Kerman at the time of the incident? Why were IRGC leaders, state figures, and the claimed admirers of Soleimani absent from the main ceremony? Additionally, concerns arise about the majority of victims being people and schoolchildren in Kerman. The initial death toll was announced as 103 and later reduced, raising further inquiries into the accuracy of the information provided.

On January 7, despite the assertive claim by the state-run Mehr News Agency that “all perpetrators of the Kerman terrorist attacks were caught,” the Agence France Presse reported, “Iran stands accused by the West of playing a key role in unrest plaguing the Middle East, but twin bombings claimed by Islamic State group jihadists are a keen reminder of its internal weaknesses, analysts say.”

On Sunday, January 7, Ali Tavkolli, head of the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces of Kerman Province, claimed that more than 64 bombs were supposed to explode across Iran that day, and the perpetrators had been arrested. He said, “Previously, 16 bombs ready to explode were discovered in Kerman, made specifically for the Martyrs’ Cemetery and the shrine of Martyr Soleimani.”

Indeed, these statements, intended to project strength, instead underscored the regime’s security vulnerabilities, casting doubt on the effectiveness of their measures.

Within less than 24 hours, the Fars news agency, through a statement from the Public Relations of the IRGC, refuted the claim of defusing the bomb by the IRGC’s Check and Defuse Unit in Kerman. They dismissed it as the creation of false news and narratives to instigate insecurity in the country.

It appears that social reactions have weighed heavily on regime officials despite their official denials. In response to the widespread public discontent following the Kerman bombings and questions about Soleimani’s daughter not attending her father’s anniversary ceremony, along with the absence of other state officials, Ali Tavkolli, the head of the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces of Kerman Province, remarked, “Those who stir up people’s minds on the internet and engage in spreading lies will definitely be identified and dealt with.”

On the same day, the state-run Tabnak website reported the arrest of dozens of social media users, charging them with insulting “the martyrs of Kerman.”

Meanwhile, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, the Speaker of the regime’s Parliament, addressed the wave of social discontent and animosity towards the regime’s warmongering, including reactions to the Kerman bombings, during the Parliament session on January 7.

Qalibaf said, “Following the Kerman assassination operation, those who typically downplay the wrongdoings of the Zionist regime and the United States actively worked to weaken national unity against blind terrorism. It is imperative for the responsible authorities to act in accordance with the Supreme Leader’s directive, aiming to suppress and justly punish those involved in this tragic event.”

Irrespective of the regime’s rhetoric or actions, no matter how many social media users it arrests and fills its prisons with, the historical memory of events like the PS 752 plane downing, the sudden 2019 gasoline price hike, and a multitude of other instances marked by lies and fabricated narratives over the past four decades has intensified distrust and disgust among the Iranian people. It’s clear that, based on their experiences, the people will not buy into any narrative the regime puts forth.

Esmail Gerami-Moghadam, in a September 12, 2023, interview with the state-run newspaper Etemad, emphasized the diverse sentiments within the population, noting, “We are facing various layers of the people. Some have moved beyond everything and are thinking about nothing less than overthrowing the regime.”