Gunmen attack Iranian military parade in Ahvas, killing dozens

Blanche Robertson
September 24, 2018

He did not name the regional states he believed were to blame. Rouhani said the US withdraw from the nuclear deal was an attempt to get Iran to give up its military arsenal.

The region's Arab separatists, once only known for nighttime attacks on unguarded oil pipelines, claimed responsibility for the brazen assault.

Isis claimed responsibility but provided no evidence.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also blamed "a foreign regime" backed by the United States for Saturday's attack that killed at least eight troops and several civilians.

Iran had enjoyed relative stability compared to Arab neighbors who have grappled with political and economic upheaval touched off by popular uprisings in 2011.

Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi was quoted by IRNA as saying the terrorists were "not from Da'esh (ISIS) or other groups fighting (Iran's) Islamic system ... but are linked to America and the [Israeli global intelligence agency] Mossad".

"Of the four terrorists, three were sent to hell at the scene, while the fourth who had been wounded and arrested went to hell moments ago due to his severe wounds", Mr Shekarchi told state television.

One of the victims was a four-year-old girl.

Haley was asked about comments made Saturday night after the attack by President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

On Sunday morning, Iran summoned diplomats from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark, accusing them of harbouring Iranian opposition groups. Some members of the ethnic separatist movements are based in the European countries.

Early Sunday, Iran summoned diplomats from Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands over allegedly harboring "members of the terrorist group" that launched the attack.

Qassemi said Iran expected the two European countries to extradite the "criminal perpetrators" of the terrorist act in Ahvaz.

"The terrorist attack in Ahwaz is probably supported by Saudi Arabia as the officials in Riyadh have already stated that they would take the war inside the Iran soil".

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Footage on social media showed soldiers and bystanders scattering as shooting broke out at the parade in Ahvaz marking the 38th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran. One picked up a gun and scrambled to his feet as women and children fled for their lives. Video obtained by The Associated Press of the aftermath showed bodies of soldiers, some appearing lifeless, laying on the ground in pools of blood.

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Rouhani has vowed a "crushing" response to the attack in the province of Khuzestan, which borders Iraq and has a large ethnic Arab community.

He warned the United States will regret its "aggressiveness".

"We won't wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia, "he said".

"The individuals who fired at the people and the armed forces during the parade are connected to the Al-Ahvazia group, which is fed by Saudi Arabia", IRGC spokesman Ramezan Sharif was quoted as saying by state media.

He was referring to a group Tehran claims is backed by its arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

"America is acting like a bully toward the rest of the world.and thinks it can act based on brute force", Rouhani told reporters just before leaving Iran for the United Nations meeting in NY.

On his Instagram account, Rouhani said: "Those who are supporting these terrorists will be held responsible".

If so, the terrorist attack is as much about trapping Iran into war as it is to trap the USA into a war of choice.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites, reported that IS said the attack was in response to Iranian involvement in conflicts across the region.

In a keynote speech, he vowed to boost Iran's ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

Last year, in the first deadly assault claimed by Islamic State in Tehran, 18 people were killed at the parliament and mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic.

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