While Sunni militant groups in the Middle East, and especially the Islamic State (IS), have used anti-Iran rhetoric as the lynchpin of their political worldview, they had never directly attacked the nation despite being active in regions around it. All that changed on Wednesday as gunmen and suicide bombers from IS killed 12 people when they assaulted the Iranian parliament and a symbolic shrine to Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution. In a time where tensions in the Middle East are rising exponentially, the attack threatens to exponentially deepen the regional fault lines.

The Ayatollah’s shire and the Parliament are the two pillars of the modern Iranian theocratic democracy, and an attack on them is inherently a symbolic one rather than one designed to cause material damage. Recent IS propaganda underscores that point too; they have called on Iranian Sunnis to rise up against the Iranian government and ratcheted up their usual attacks on them as well. In the context of the recent split between the Saudi led coalition and Qatar over Iran the objective of the attack is clear: Create further antagonism between the two sides.

That objective seems to be succeeding; in a statement released hours after the attacks, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it held Saudi Arabia responsible for the Sunni jihadist group’s actions and promised revenge. Iranian commanders also pointed the recent summit between Donald Trump and Gulf Arab leaders, where Saudi Arabia called for a harder line against Iran.

While the attack maybe – and probably is – the sole effort of IS which is battling against Iran backed groups in Iraq and Syria, in light of recent events it is likely that narratives of a Saudi-US conspiracy against will find traction in Iran, especially among its zealous political parties.

All of this makes for a dangerous and potentially explosive cocktail in the Middle East. Cooler heads must prevail and it is the responsibility of regional and global powers to ensure that this conflict simmers down. With U.S striking an incendiary and irresponsible tone under Donald Trump it is the job of other nations to step in and assume leadership.

Pakistan, which enjoys cordial relations with most of the Middle East, can potentially be that nation. With the Parliament passing a resolution urging all sides practice restraint and reason, the political opinion at home supports a bipartisan and conciliatory approach to the Middle East crisis. It is now up to Nawaz Sharif to display leadership and try to defuse this powder keg.