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A bomb explosion occurred at the shrine of Ali al-Ridha, the eighth Imam of Shia, on 20 June 1994 in a crowded prayer hall in Mashhad, Iran. To maximize the amount of casualties, the explosion took place on Ashura, one of the holiest days for Shia muslims,[3] when hundreds of pilgrims had gathered to commemorate the death of their third Imam, Husayn ibn Ali.[4]

Imam Reza shrine bombing
Date20 June 1994 (1994-06-20) (Ashura 1415 AH)
LocationMashhad, Iran
25 (26[1]) dead
70 (over 200[1]) injured
SuspectsRamzi Yousef, Abdul Shakoor, MEK, Al-haraka al-islamiya al-iraniya (Sunni group claiming responsibility),[2]

The attack left at least 25 dead and at least 70 injured.[3][a] The bomb was equivalent to 10 pounds of TNT, according to experts.[6] Although a Sunni group claimed responsibility, the Iranian government laid the blame on the People's Mujahedin of Iran, and others have accused a Pakistani militant.


On 20 June, the shrine was crowded with self-flagellating mourners, celebrating Ashura and commemorating the death of Husayn ibn Ali. At 14:26, a bomb exploded in a crowded prayer hall in the women's section of the shrine.[4] The Independent described it as "the first attack on such a holy place" or "the worst terrorist atrocity in Iran since 1981".[3][6] In protest, people gathered outside the mosque and hospitals.[4]

Damage included the destruction of one wall and the prayer hall's dome, and the breaking of crystal chandeliers.[4]


The Iranian government blamed the Iraqi-backed People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK).[3] According to IRNA, the official Iranian news agency, a caller claimed responsibility for the event in the name of MEK. However, MEK condemned the attack.[4] Ramzi Yousef, a member of al-Qaeda who was responsible for several terrorist attacks worldwide, was also accused of being responsible, supposedly having been hired by MEK.[7][8][9] According to an anonymous US official, Yousef built the bomb and MEK agents placed it in the shrine.[10] According to the analysts, he was suspected of having connections with MEK because of his Iraqi background.[11] However, Raymond Tanter, a member of the United States National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan, believes that MEK was not involved, and that a Pakistani militant connected to Yousef was the perpetrator.[9] News, A Pakistani daily newspaper, identified that person to be Abdul Shakoor, a young religious radical living in Lyari in Karachi.[11]

A month after the attack, a Sunni group calling itself “al-haraka al-islamiya al-iraniya” claimed responsibility for the attack. Despite this, the Iranian government continued to hold the MEK responsible.[2] According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, in a trial in November 1999, Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri claimed it was a false flag attack by the Iranian regime to blame MEK.[12][13]


Strict security measures were applied after this attack, and visitors are now searched before entering the shrine.[14] The event caused further political unrest in Iran.[15][failed verification]


A 2013 play entitled "the picture of Aziz's event" narrated the life of a woman who was going to visit Imam Reza shrine on the day of the bombing.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Other estimates range from 200 to nearly 300.[5][6][1]


  1. ^ a b c Staff writers. "Context of 'June 20, 1994: Ramzi Yousef Bombs Iranian Shrine'". Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b Buchta, Wilfried (2000), Who rules Iran?: the structure of power in the Islamic Republic, Washington DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, p. 112-114, ISBN 978-0-944029-39-8
  3. ^ a b c d Haeri, Safa (21 June 1994). "Bomb kills 25 and injures 70 at Iran's holiest shrine". The Independent. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Staff writers (21 June 1994). "Bomb Kills 25 At Holy Place In Iranian City". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  5. ^ Atkins, Stephen E. (2 June 2011). The 9/11 Encyclopedia: Second Edition. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598849219. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Bomb explosion in Imam Reza Holy Shrine". Islamic Revolution Document Center. 1994. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ Warner, Judith Ann (2010). U.S. Border Security: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598844078. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  8. ^ Kushner, Harvey W. (4 December 2002). Encyclopedia of Terrorism. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781452265506. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b Staff (15 February 2012). "Iran Policy Committee: NBC Deceived By Iran's Intelligence Ministry And Anonymous U.S. Sources". The Street. Archived from the original on 2016-10-13. Retrieved 10 October 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. ^ Brian Williams. "Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News". Rock Center. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ a b Raman, B. (1 July 2002). "Sipah-E-Sahaba Pakistan, Lashhar-E-Jhangvi, Bin Laden & Ramzi Yousef". South Asia Analysis Group. Archived from the original on 19 March 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ Jafarzadeh, Alireza (2008). The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 205–6. ISBN 978-0230601284.
  13. ^ "Response from the National Council of Resistance of Iran". NBC News.
  14. ^ Harris, Mark Edward (2 March 2012). Inside Iran. Chronicle Books. p. 129. ISBN 9781452113623. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  15. ^ Cronin, Stephanie (30 October 2003). The Middle East and North Africa 2004. Regional Surveys of the World (50th ed.). Europa Publications. p. 376. ISBN 9781857431841. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  16. ^ "نگاهی متفاوت به شهدای بمب‌گذاری در حرم مطهر امام رضا(ع)". Tasnim news agency. Retrieved 12 February 2013.

External linksEdit