Iranians appear unfazed by Isfahan blasts

Iranians appear unfazed by Isfahan blasts

/ 03:18 AM April 20, 2024

People visit the Khaju Bridge in Iran's central city of Isfahan on April 19, 2024.

People visit the Khaju Bridge in Iran’s central city of Isfahan on April 19, 2024. World leaders appealed for calm on April 19 after reported Israeli retaliation against Iran added to months of tense spillover from the war in Gaza, with Iranian state media reporting explosions in the central province of Isfahan. (Photo by Rasoul SHOJAEI / IRNA / AFP)

Tehran, Iran — Despite Friday’s announcement of explosions in central Iran, many people appeared unfazed and planned rallies in the capital supporting last weekend’s unprecedented Iranian attack on Israel still went ahead.

“We’re going to the park to play board games. Everything is just like before,” Bahar, 24, an instructor who works with children, told AFP from Isfahan province where the early morning blasts were heard.


“It’s just like a normal Friday morning,” added Bahar, who said she only heard about the explosions from a friend living abroad.


READ: Israel launches strike against Iran – US media

State media reported detonations were heard after “several” drones were “successfully shot down” by Iran’s “anti-aircraft defence system”.

However, US media quoted officials there as saying Israel had carried out strikes in retaliation for Tehran’s drone and missile barrage fired at Israel last weekend.

Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted “informed sources” as denying the explosions were an attack from abroad.

Even President Ebrahim Raisi made no mention of the blasts when he gave a speech in Semnan province east of Tehran.

Flights over Iran were briefly suspended following the explosions, but later resumed as scheduled.


‘We are against war’ 

Friday’s explosions took place almost a week after Iran launched its first-ever direct retaliatory attack on Israel.

Along with the United States and other allies, Israel intercepted most of the more than 300 missiles and drones which Israel said Iran had launched.

READ: Iran launches unprecedented strikes on Israel, risking wider conflict

Only minor damage was reported in Israel, and there were no fatalities.

Iran attacked in response to an April 1 strike in Damascus which levelled the five-storey consular annexe of the Iranian embassy and killed seven Revolutionary Guards, two of them generals.

Following its drone and missile barrage attack, Iran said it deemed the matter concluded and Raisi warned Israel against the “slightest action”.

After Friday prayers, thousands of people rallied in Tehran to support the Islamic republic’s retaliatory attack on Israel, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

The demonstrations dispersed shortly after the prayers, and many people around the city then flocked to Tehran’s parks to enjoy the spring weather while others went hiking in the mountains.

Some people did express concern about the prospect of an expanding conflict, however.

“War is a destructive thing, it is troublesome for everyone,” said Mohsen, a 60-year-old taxi driver in the capital.

“The whole world wants peace and comfort.”

Friday’s explosions prompted world leaders to appeal for calm and de-escalation as Israel-Iran tensions spiked against the backdrop of the Gaza war which broke out on October 7.

Ali, a 48-year-old construction worker, told AFP he was angered by the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran.

“Israel has no right to interfere in Iran,” he said. “If Israel wants to attack our country, our goal is to defend it.”

Retired firefighter Behrouz hoped for calm.

“We are against war, one way or another,” the 71-year-old said.

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“We are not happy with the killing of people, whether they are Iranians, Israelis, or Gazans.”

TAGS: Iran, Israel

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