Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on
Sunday pointed blame at Arab separatists for a deadly attack on a military
parade and accused an unnamed US-backed Gulf state of supporting them.
Tehran also summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain
for allegedly hosting members of the group suspected of links to Saturday's
attack near the Iraqi border that left at least 29 people dead.
Four militants attacked a parade commemorating the start of the 1980-1988
Iran-Iraq war in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, capital of the border
province of Khuzestan.
Officials and an eyewitness said the gunmen were clad in Iranian military
uniforms and had sprayed the crowd with gunfire using weapons they had
stashed in a nearby park.
The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for the rare
But from early on, Iranian officials saw an Arab separatist movement, the
Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front (ADPF) or Al-Ahwazi, as the main suspect.
It is absolutely clear to us who has done this, which group it is and to
whom they are affiliated, Rouhani said on state television on Sunday,
shortly before leaving Tehran for the UN General Assembly in New York.
Those who have caused this catastrophe were Saddam's mercenaries as
long as he was alive and then changed masters, he said, referring to late
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
One of the countries in the south of the Persian Gulf took care of their
financial, weaponry and political needs.
All these little mercenary countries we see in this region are backed by
America. It is the Americans who incite them, he said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack had been carried out
by terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime.
London-based opposition channel Iran International TV on Saturday aired an
interview with Yaqoub Hor Altostari, presented as a spokesman for ADPF,
indirectly claiming responsibility for the attack and calling it resistance
against legitimate targets.
But in a statement on its website, the group denied any involvement,
accusing Iranian authorities of ordering the attack to distract from Tehran's
support for militias in the region. � Diplomats summoned �
Iran in response summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and
Britain to complain about them hosting some members of the terrorist group
and double standards in fighting terrorism, the foreign ministry said.
The British charge d'affaires was told that it is not acceptable that the
spokesman for the mercenary Al-Ahwazi group be allowed to claim responsiblity
for this terrorist act through a London-based TV network, said the
ministry's spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi.
The British foreign ministry said its charge d'affaires had extended its
condolences to Tehran and that Iranian officials were planning to lodge a
formal complaint with Britain's media watchdog Ofcom.
Ghasemi also said Iran expected the Danish and Dutch governments to hand
over the perpetrators of this attack and anyone related to them to Iran for a
He also said Iran had warned the United Arab Emirates over offensive
remarks attributed to a UAE political advisor following the attack.
The charge d'affaires was warned that blatant support of terrorist acts by
those linked to Emirati authorities will have repercussions for the UAE
government, Ghasemi said, without disclosing the official's identity or the
nature of the comments.
State television gave a toll of 29 dead and 57 wounded in the attack, while
official news agency IRNA said those killed included women and children who
were spectators at the parade.
Three attackers were killed at the scene and the fourth died later of his
injuries, said armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi.
IS had claimed the attack via its propaganda mouthpiece Amaq and that the
attack was in response to Iranian involvement in conflicts across the region.
The Revolutionary Guards accused Shiite-dominated Iran's Sunni arch-rival
Saudi Arabia of funding the attackers, while Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei also blamed Iran's pro-US rivals.
Khuzestan which has a large ethnic Sunni Arab community was a major
battleground of the 1980s war with Iraq and it saw unrest in 2005 and 2011,
but has since been largely quiet.
Kurdish rebels frequently attack military patrols on the border further
north, but attacks on government targets in major cities are rare.
On June 7, 2017 in Tehran, 17 people were killed and dozens wounded in
simultaneous attacks on the parliament and on the tomb of revolutionary
leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini � the first inside Iran claimed by IS.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)