Hours after suicide bombers and gunmen launched deadly assaults against Iran’s parliament and the tomb of its former supreme leader in Tehran on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump extended seemingly backhanded condolences to the grieving nation.
“We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump said in a press release.
He didn’t stop there.
“We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil that they promote,” the president concluded.
The twin attacks, claimed by the so-called Islamic State terrorist group, killed at least 17 people and injured scores. The six known assailants were also killed, and five other suspects have been detained so far. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have blamed Saudi Arabia and vowed to seek revenge.
During his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Trump criticized Iran for fueling “the fires of sectarian conflict and terror” and blamed the country for supporting militias and extremist groups that “spread destruction and chaos.” He called on other nations to isolate Tehran and to stop prioritizing political correctness while addressing terrorism.
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif slammed Trump’s statement as “repugnant” on Twitter.
Trump had already faced a backlash over his response to foreign terrorism last weekend when he seized on carnage in London to promote his internationally condemned travel ban affecting several Muslim-majority nations, including Iran.
Members of the National Iranian American Council, a nonpartisan Washington-based organization, replied to Trump’s remarks Wednesday with a statement of their own:
“We support the people of Iran who have repeatedly demonstrated their dedication to the values of tolerance and diplomacy, despite the hardships they face. We underscore that administrations that cannot empathize with human suffering risk losing their humanity, and presidents that cannot genuinely recognize victims of terrorism are incapable of leading the fight against terror.”