Iran blames Gulf Arab states for military parade attack

Frederick Owens
September 24, 2018

The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.

According to local media, the terrorists also meant to attack the military commanders and officials on the podium but they were wounded by the security forces.

The city lies in Khuzestan, a province bordering Iraq that has a large ethnic Arab community and has seen separatist violence in the past that Iran has blamed on its regional rivals.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed "terrorists paid by a foreign regime", adding that "Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their USA masters accountable".

This picture taken in the Iranian city of Ahvaz shows a man helping women and children as they try to flee at the scene of an attack on a military parade that was marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Speaking before leaving Tehran to attend the UN General Assembly in New York, Rouhani accused US-backed Gulf Arab states of providing financial and military support for anti-government ethnic Arab groups.

"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".

In New York, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Saturday that USA sanctions were inflicting economic pain on Iran that could lead to a "successful revolution".

Within an hour of this statement, Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the United Arab Emirates charge d'affaires to rebuke him for comments made by an unnamed Emirati official. State media in Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the attack.

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On June 7, 2017, 17 people were killed and dozens wounded in simultaneous attacks in Tehran on the parliament and on the tomb of revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini - the first inside Iran claimed by IS.

"When you have a security incident at home, blaming others is an enormous mistake", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told "Fox New Sunday". The Guard responded to the attack on Sunday, warning it would seek "deadly and unforgiving revenge in the near future". The Trump administration has said that changing Iran's system of government is not USA policy.

However, under the Trump administration, these relations have deteriorated further as the American leader pulled the United States out of a nuclear agreement that had been agreed to with Iran and other nations under his predecessor, President Barack Obama, and moved to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for Iran's armed forces, said the attackers had hidden weapons in an area near the parade route several days in advance. Though many are expecting a tense reception from the American leader, Trump has suggested he would be open to meeting Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations events.

Iran has blamed its Mideast archrival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding Arab separatists' activity.

An adviser to the UAE crown prince had tweeted that "attacking a military target is not a terrorist act" and "moving the battle deeper inside in Iran is a declared option".

The Islamic State group also claimed the attack, but initially offered incorrect information about it and provided no proof.

Protests against the government and its handling of the economy that erupted across many provinces late a year ago also took place in some cities in Khuzestan, where some of the most violent incidents took place. Early Sunday, a Foreign Ministry statement similarly criticized Britain and said Danish and Dutch diplomats were told Iran "already warned" their governments about harboring Arab separatists.

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