Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani mentioned Sunday that an unnamed U.S.-allied nation within the Persian Gulf was behind an assault on a army parade that killed 25 folks and wounded practically 70.
Rouhani didn’t establish these behind Saturday’s assault, which was claimed by an Arab separatist group. He might have been referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain — shut U.S. army allies that view Iran as a regional menace over its assist for militant teams throughout the Center East.
“All of these small mercenary nations that we see on this area are backed by America. It’s Individuals who instigate them and supply them with needed means to commit these crimes,” Rouhani mentioned.
Saturday’s assault, during which militants disguised as troopers opened fireplace on an annual Iranian army parade in Ahvaz, within the oil-rich southwest, was the deadliest assault within the nation in practically a decade. Ladies and kids scattered together with once-marching Revolutionary Guard troopers as heavy gunfire rang out, the chaos captured dwell on state tv.
The area’s Arab separatists, as soon as solely identified for nighttime assaults on unguarded oil pipelines, claimed duty for the assault, and Iranian officers appeared to consider the declare. Iran summoned diplomats from Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands early Sunday for allegedly harboring “members of the terrorist group” that launched the assault.
The ministry later summoned the envoy of the United Arab Emirates as properly over what it known as the “irresponsible and insulting statements” of an Emirati adviser, based on the semi-official ISNA information company.
Iranian Overseas Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier blamed regional nations and their “U.S. masters” for funding and arming the separatists, issuing a stark warning as regional tensions stay excessive within the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.
“Iran will reply swiftly and decisively in protection of Iranian lives,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
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The parade was one in every of many across the nation marking the beginning of Iran’s lengthy 1980s conflict with Iraq, commemorations generally known as the “Sacred Protection Week.”
The assault killed at the least 25 folks and wounded practically 70, based on the state-run IRNA information company. It mentioned gunmen wore army uniforms and focused a riser the place army and police commanders have been sitting. State TV hours later reported that every one 4 gunmen had been killed.
Not less than eight of the lifeless served within the Revolutionary Guard, an elite paramilitary unit that solutions solely to Iran’s supreme chief, based on the semi-official Tasnim information company. The Guard responded to the assault on Sunday, warning it could search “lethal and unforgiving revenge within the close to future.”
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Tensions have been on the rise for the reason that Trump administration pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran earlier this 12 months and started restoring sanctions that have been eased below the deal. It additionally has steadily ramped up stress on Iran to attempt to get it to cease what Washington calls its “malign actions” within the area.
The U.S. authorities however strongly condemned Saturday’s assault and expressed its sympathy, saying it “condemns all acts of terrorism and the lack of any harmless lives.”
Initially, authorities described the assailants as “takfiri gunmen,” a time period beforehand used to explain the Islamic State group. Iran has been deeply concerned within the battle towards IS in Iraq and has aided Syrian President Bashar Assad in his nation’s lengthy civil conflict.
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However later, state media and authorities officers appeared to come back to the consensus that Arab separatists within the area have been accountable. The separatists accuse Iran’s Persian-dominated authorities of discriminating towards its ethnic Arab minority.
Khuzestan province additionally has seen latest protests over Iran’s nationwide drought, in addition to financial protests.
Iran has blamed its Mideast archrival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding Arab separatists. State media in Saudi Arabia didn’t instantly acknowledge the assault, although a Saudi-linked, Farsi-language satellite tv for pc channel primarily based in the UK instantly carried an interview with an Ahvazi activist claiming Saturday’s assault.
Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran’s ambassador to the U.Okay., known as the channel’s determination a “heinous act” in a submit on Twitter and mentioned his nation would file a grievance with British authorities over the printed. Early Sunday, a Overseas Ministry assertion equally criticized Britain and mentioned Danish and Dutch diplomats have been instructed Iran “already warned” their governments about harboring Arab separatists.
Danish Overseas Minister Anders Samuelsen condemned the assault and careworn that there can be “penalties” if it seems that these accountable have connections to Denmark.
Yacoub Hor al-Tostari, a spokesman for the Arab Battle Motion to Liberate Ahvaz, instructed The Related Press that members of an umbrella group of Ahvazi activists his group leads carried out the assault.
The assault undermined the Iranian authorities “on the day it needs to provide a message to the world that it’s highly effective and in management,” al-Tostari mentioned. To bolster his declare, he gave particulars about one of many attackers that the AP couldn’t instantly confirm.
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The Islamic State group additionally claimed duty for the assault, however offered no proof it carried out the assault. Additionally they initially wrongly mentioned the assault focused Rouhani, who was in Tehran on the time. The militants have made a string of false claims within the wake of main defeats in Iraq and Syria.
The Islamic State group carried out a coordinated assault in June 2017 on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the chief of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Not less than 18 folks have been killed and greater than 50 wounded.
Within the final decade, mass-casualty militant assaults have been extremely uncommon. In 2009, greater than 40 folks, together with six Guard commanders, have been killed in a suicide assault by Sunni extremists in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province.