Rouhani: Islamic Shrines Iran’s Red Line

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TEHRAN: President Hassan Rouhani Saturday said Iran will not tolerate terrorist attacks on holy Islamic shrines in Iraq and Syria, and that the revered sites are a “red line” to the Islamic Republic.

“It is not a matter of whether they are based in Iraq, Syria or in other countries. We will not tolerate attempts by terrorists to assault the holy shrines of the Ahlal-Bayt [Household of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)] and will stand against them,” Rouhani said.

“I have repeatedly said the shrines constitute a red line for us,” Iranian president said during a speech on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day in Tehran on Saturday.

Rouhani said, “Martyrs taught us to protect Muslims and holy shrines if they are in danger.”

Rebels have frequently targeted the holy shrine of Syeda Zainab, daughter of Imam Ali, located in Damascus outskirts and shrines in Karbala and Najaf in neighboring Iraq in recent times.

Addressing the families of the Iranian martyrs, the president said, “Your youths showed they would defend Iran, the Muslim land, and the holy shrines no matter where they are.”

Iran has sent military advisers to Syria and Iraq to help the two countries repel attacks on holy shrines. Some of the advisers have lost their lives in terror attacks or clashes with rebels backed by the West and regional Arab allies of Washington.

Iran honors those killed during the Iraqi war under former dictator Saddam Hussein between 1980 and 1988, with President Rouhani saying Saturday “martyrs showed us the path of self-abnegation and sacrifice.”

“They taught us to defend our country, morals, and religion, to stand by the side of our leader and authorities, observe unity and integrity so our country stands glorious in the region and the world. This is the martyrs’ message and will.”

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