The Islamic State has stepped up its efforts to target Iran, releasing a stream of propaganda, vowing more bloodshed and boosting recruitment among the country’s Sunni minority groups.
Last week, Iranian authorities said they arrested more than two dozen people who planned to bomb religious sites with smuggled explosives. The Islamic State then released a video in which a Farsi-speaking militant threatened to cut the necks of Iran’s majority Shiites, whom the group regards as apostates.
Two months earlier, the Islamic State staged its first major attack in Iran, with militants opening fire at the nation’s parliament and outside the shrine of its revolutionary leader. The assault, stunning in both its symbolism and execution, left 18 people dead and caught Iranian security forces off guard.
Iran is a target because of the cash, guns and troops it has poured into the battle against the radical Islamists, whose lightning ascent in Iraq and Syria three years ago threatened Iran’s security. But now, Iranian advisers and an army of Iran-backed militias are fighting the Islamic State from central Iraq to southeastern Syria.