Iranians pay tribute, Friday, January 4, to the victims of the attack perpetrated on Wednesday in the south of Iran, the latest death toll of which is 90. The double explosion, claimed by the Islamic State organization, took place in Kerman, in the southeast of the country, near the tomb of General Ghassem Soleimani, former architect of Iranian military operations in the Middle East, during his funeral.

The Minister of the Interior, Ahmad Vahidi, declared on television on Friday that the intelligence services had arrested “certain individuals involved” in the attack, without further details.

The funeral began around noon in the courtyard of the Emam Ali mosque, where a crowd gathered in front of dozens of coffins wrapped in Iranian flags, according to images broadcast by state television. Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi, as well as General Hossein Salami, head of the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, were present.

“Mercenary of Zionist and American politics”

Mr. Raïssi claimed in a speech that the Islamic State (IS) organization, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, had been “trained” by Israel, the sworn enemy of the Islamic Republic. “Know that the initiative belongs to us, the place and time [to respond to the Kerman attack] will be determined by our forces,” he warned.

The IS “has disappeared” and “can only act as a mercenary of Zionist and American policy”, General Salami accused, for his part.

Many people present brandished the Iranian flag, that of Lebanese Hezbollah, a Shiite movement allied with Tehran, or even portraits of Qassem Soleimani.

Demonstrations across the country

The death toll rose to 89, including women and children, after the death of five injured, state television announced on Friday. At least twelve of the victims are Afghan nationals, according to the same source.

The bodies of the victims from Kerman will be buried at the Martyrs’ Cemetery in Kerman after the big Friday prayer, while the others will be transferred to their respective cities of origin. The television also reported that protests would take place across the country after prayers to “condemn the terrorist attack” by ISIS.

General Soleimani, a key figure in the Islamic Republic and former head of the Al-Quds Force, Iran’s foreign operations branch, is celebrated in his country for his role in the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and in Syria.