11 troops killed in Iran parade attack

Hannah Rogers
September 23, 2018

Iran's religious leader Ali Khamenei echoed Rouhani's comments by also accusing US-backed Gulf Arab states.

"Their crime is a continuation of the conspiracies by the USA -backed regimes in the region which have aimed at creating insecurity in our dear country", Khamenei said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed the killings on "regional terror sponsors and their US masters".

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on twitter that Iran would respond "swiftly and decisively" to the attack, which he blamed on "regional terror sponsors and their US masters".

Iran denies the accusations and calls for regional states to guarantee the oil-producing region's security without the interference of the United States and other Western powers.

During recent years, national solidarity and patriotic sentiments often forged virtual alliances between the regime and opposition forces based overseas every time the Persian Gulf's "Persian" identity was challenged by littoral Arab states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Tehran: The Islamic State group claimed a deadly gun assault against a military parade in the city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran on Saturday, its second major attack in the Islamic Republic in 15 months.

Khuzestan was a major battleground of the 1980s war with Iraq and the attack on the anniversary parade in Ahvaz had significant symbolic value.

The semi-official Fars news agency said that four gunmen on a motorcycle, who were disguised as military personnel, carried out the attack.

The summoned diplomats were grilled over the whereabouts of some "members of the mercenary terrorist group", that Tehran suspects their countries of sheltering. A statement on the Amaq news agency, which is used by IS as a mouthpiece, claimed the group was behind the attack, though this has not been verified.

The tweet drew sharp criticism from Muhsin Rezai, the secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council in Iran, who considered the comment a clear threat of new attacks on the territory of the Islamic Republic.

Egypt, a key ally of Saudi Arabia, also condemned the attack.

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Attacks on the military are rare in Iran.

In a related development, Iran's Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Sunday that the country's security forces would give a "crushing response to the masterminds behind this inhumane measure" in Ahvaz.

Footage shows the moment attackers open fire on the military parade in #Ahvaz, killing at least 10 people including a journalist and several IRGC forces. Moving the battle deeper inside Iran is an declared option and will increase during the next phase.

Rouhani could have been referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain, all of which are close USA military allies.

"The group has carried out a few sabotage operations in Khuzestan province during the past years", said an unidentified senior provincial police officer.

The Guard said in its statement that it was willing to pursue the attackers "regionally and beyond".

Iran has been relatively stable compared with neighbouring Arab countries that have grappled with upheaval since the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East.

Some Arabs, one of two main ethnic groups in the province alongside Persians, complain of systematic discrimination and demand Independence from what they describe as an "Persian occupation".

The government of Syria also expressed its "full sympathy and solidarity" with Iran, while Turkey slammed a "heinous terrorist attack". State media in Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the attack.

"I don't know when we're going to overthrow them".

The official state news agency IRNA said 53 people had also been wounded and that many were in a critical condition.

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