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Trump condemns Iran attacks but says states who sponsor terrorism can fall victim to it

 (European Pressphoto Agency)
(European Pressphoto Agency)

President Trump Wednesday condemned dual terrorist attacks in Iran but warned that state sponsors of terrorism "risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

After remaining unusually silent about the kind of terrorism attack that he usually takes to Twitter to condemn, Trump issued a statement late in the afternoon.

"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," he said in the two-sentence statement.

But he suggested Iran shared in the blame: "We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

Gunmen using explosives stormed the Iranian parliament in Tehran and a venerated shrine earlier in the day, leaving 12 people dead and 42 injured.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for its first major attack in the Shiite-dominated country that has been relatively free of the kind of violence engulfing the region.

But the Trump administration has made Iran the focus of its anti-terrorism rhetoric and policies, apparently creating a quandary for how to respond.

The U.S. has long considered Iran to be a sponsor of terrorism outside its borders, although Tehran has been active in the fight against the Sunni-dominated Islamic State, another stated priority of President Trump.

The State Department also issued a brief statement. Although it usually expresses solidarity with and offers assistance to a government in a country where there has been a terrorism episode, it did not do so Wednesday.

"The depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world," the department said in a three-sentence statement.

"The United States condemns the terrorist attacks in Tehran today," the statement said. "We express our condolences to the victims and their families, and send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Iran."

Separately, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to advance a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and supply of weapons to militant groups.

Iran supports Houthi rebels in Yemen and groups that the U.S. considers terrorists, such as the Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

Several Democrats said they supported the bill, but would insist on adding another package of sanctions against Russia for its meddling in the U.S. election.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, however, that she thought the timing was inappropriate.

"The country has just suffered from two significant terrorist attacks after electing a moderate government with 57 percent of the vote—we need to give Iran the opportunity to recover and set a new course,” she said.

1:30p.m.: This post was updated with new information.

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