Tehran attacks: Eiffel Tower to turn off lights in tribute to victims after Donald Trump's response branded 'repugnant'

Paris mayor says city stands in 'solidarity' after White House appears to blame Iran for massacre

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The Independent Online

The Eiffel Tower is to turn out its lights shortly before midnight in tribute to the victims of the terror attack in Tehran.

Isis militants killed at least 17 people in suicide bombings and shootings in the Iranian capital, which targeted the national parliament building and the mausoleum Ayatollah Khomeini.

“Tonight, at 11.45pm, I will turn my lights off to pay tribute to the victims of the Tehran attack,” said a tweet from an account representing the Eiffel Tower.

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, wrote on Twitter that the French capital and its residents “stand in solidarity” with Iran.

The landmark has extinguished its lights as a mark of respect following terror attacks around the world, going dark as recently as Sunday night for the victims of the London Bridge attack.

The tribute was first made following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Kosher supermarket in 2015, before the French flag was projected on to the Eiffel Tower that November after Isis militants massacred 130 people in Paris.

Eiffel Tower goes dark in memory of Westminster attack victims

It was subsequently lit up in the flags of countries including Belgium as an expression of solidarity for atrocities, but there was criticism when the same move was not taken after terror attacks in Asia and the Middle East.

Officials have since taken the decision to turn the Eiffel Tower’s lights off for massacres including the recent bombings in Kabul and Baghdad. 

The decision to extend the tribute to Iran was being seen by some as a signal to the American government, following a controversial statement from the White House.

“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,” a statement said. 

“We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Donald Trump has previously accused Iran of being the “number one” global sponsor of terrorism, publicly criticising a landmark deal to limit its nuclear capability struck under Barack Obama.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called the response “repugnant”, adding: “Iranian people reject such US claims of friendship.” 

The US President made Saudi Arabia the symbolic first stop on his first foreign tour last month, making a speech blaming Iran for regional instability.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, which base their governance on hardline interpretations of Sunni and Shia Islam respectively, are waging a proxy war in countries including Syria and Yemen.

Despite Isis’ swift claim of responsibility for the Tehran attack, when it shared gruesome images on its propaganda channels, Iranian officials have turned suspicion on Saudi Arabia. Riyadh denied any involvement.

Isis has threatened more attacks on Iran, declaring “war” on the country in a new edition of its Rumiyah propaganda magazine issued on Thursday.

The terrorist group, founded in Salafi jihadi ideology, has declared Shia Muslims heretics and targeted them in years of terror attacks and massacres across Iraq and Syria in what the US said amounts to genocide.

Iran’s intelligence agency said five of the attackers in Tehran were Iranian nationals who had previously fought for Isis in the group’s strongholds.

Iranian forces are backing embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as Shia militias fighting Isis in Iraq.

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