Swordsman Shot Attempting to Break Into Iran's Presidential Palace

A sword-carrying man who tried to bypass security at the presidential palace in Iran was shot and arrested after trying to break in to President Hassan Rouhani’s office.

According to the Associated Press, guards at the presidential complex in the Iranian capital of Tehran opened fire on the man, wounding him in the leg.

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Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported the 35-year-old was taken to a hospital following the incident and placed under arrest.

The deputy governor of Tehran, Mohsen Hamedani, said officials were still working to identify the man and figure out the motivation for the break-in. According to Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim news agency, the man was wearing a burial shroud.

GettyImages-850171914 Iran's President Hassan Rouhani at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, on September 20, 2017. AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD

Wearing the white cloth is often interpreted as symbolizing a willingness to sacrifice one’s life in Islam, and could indicate that the man was planning a suicide mission.

The man managed to get past security at the first of several checkpoints. His attempt to force his entry into the building may mean he was trying to get to Rouhani, although it is not clear whether or not the leader was in the palace on Monday. The complex is a designated high-security area and houses a number of major government institutions, according to Reuters.

In rural, more traditional communities, Iranian men sometimes carry large knives or swords with their local costume, but this is uncommon in Tehran, where there has been a drive from police to dissuade individuals from carrying weapons, some of which are occasionally confiscated.

Iranian authorities have been in a state of high alert, particularly in Tehran, following a week of protests across the country at the end of 2017. The diverse demonstrations were motivated primarily by economic hardship, though in some cities protesters called for Rouhani’s death.