"Ambassador Ghazanfar Rokn-Abadi was on his way (Tuesday) with cultural advisor Ibrahim Ansari to see the Lebanese Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun," the Iranian diplomatic source in Beirut told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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"The advisor was waiting in the car near the entrance when the first suicide attacker detonated himself. The ambassador, who would have left the building within a minute, went back," he added. Ansari was seriously injured in the attack, and later died from his wounds, according to a Lebanese hospital source. Tehran has yet to confirm the news of his death.
The Hezbollah affiliated Lebanese network Al Maydan published a video of the attack. In the video, people can be seen crowding the scene in wake of a lighter initial blast which took place before the larger explosion. The second blast is fully documented in the video. Afterwards, people can be seen fleeing the scene.
The twin suicide attack was claimed by an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group and is the first of its kind against Iran, a close ally of President Bashar Assad, since the outbreak of Syria's conflict.
Iran has deployed military experts in Syria and supports Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah , which has sent fighters across the border to support Assad. Iran also backs Iraqi militias that fight alongside Assad's troops.
Tuesday's attack struck a Hezbollah bastion in southern Beirut, which houses the Iranian embassy.
The neighborhood had already suffered two summertime attacks, including one which left 27 people dead.
Iran's deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, arrived in Beirut on Wednesday. Standing beside the ambassador, he received messages of condolence from Lebanese politicians, an AFP reporter said.
Army tanks meanwhile on Wednesday cordoned off the street where the bombers had struck, as investigators collected evidence.
Residents were seen inspecting and repairing their homes while the streets remained clogged with debris.
The Lebanese press ran headlines Wednesday that focused on the face-off between Lebanese supporters and opponents of the Assad regime in Syria, which for two and a half years has been fighting a ruthless war against a full-blown insurgency.
AFP contributed to this report
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