Ankara: An individual who claimed to have links to the Islamic State extremist group threatened to attack the Iranian embassy in Ankara, Tehran’s envoy in Turkey said on Monday, denying Turkish media reports that he had been evacuated.
“The suicide attack against the embassy was only a threat,” Ambassador Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian Fard said. “Nothing significant has happened and things are under control.”
“The threat was made by someone who introduced himself as linked to Daesh,” Fard said, quoted by state news agency IRNA and referring to IS by its Arabic acronym.
Turkish media said Fard had been evacuated but the ambassador and Tehran flatly denied the report as a complete fabrication.
“Such a claim is a sheer lie, and the personnel at our embassy are present at their workplace in full health and security,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.
Earlier on Monday, DHA news agency said Iran’s mission in the Turkish capital had been given an intelligence warning about a possible suicide bomb attack.
The road by the embassy was shut off and police could be seen searching cars in the area, an AFP photographer said earlier on Monday.
Ambassador Fard also said Turkish police “intensified security measures” around Tehran’s mission in Ankara in response to the threat.
In 2015 and 2016, Turkey was hit by a series of terror attacks which were blamed on both Kurdish militants and the Islamic State jihadist group.
The last attack blamed on IS was in January 2017 when a gunman killed 39 people at an elite Istanbul nightclub during New Year celebrations.
Since then, Turkish police have conducted regular raids across the country against suspected IS jihadists.
They have also regularly targeted members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and its Western allies.