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 that killed 24 people, according to a revised death toll.
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 Iranian authorities blamed the Al-Ahwaziya movement pointing the
finger at the Arab separatist movement in Khuzestan which includes various
One of the countries in the south of the Persian Gulf took care of their
financial, weaponry and political needs, said Rouhani.
All these little mercenary countries we see in this region are backed by
America. It is the Americans who incite them.
US hits back
The United States condemned the attack, with its UN envoy saying it had
happened because Rouhani has oppressed his people for a long time.
He needs to look at his own base to figure out where that's coming from.
I think the Iranian people have had enough, said Nikki Haley.
London-based opposition channel Iran International TV on Saturday
broadcast a claim of responsibility for the attack from a movement called the
Ahvaz National Resistance.
Another group, the Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front, denied any involvement
in a statement on its website, accusing Iranian authorities of ordering the
attack to distract from Tehran's support for militias in the region.
Iran summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain to
complain about them hosting some members of the terrorist group responsible
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 ministry
spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.
Britain said its diplomat had extended the country's condolences to Tehran
and that Iranian officials were planning to lodge a formal complaint with the
United Kingdom'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
Denmark said there would be consequences if any such links were
established, while the Netherlands said it had heard the Iranian version of
events and offered its condolences.
Iran also warned the United Arab Emirates over offensive remarks
attributed to a UAE political adviser following the attack.
Oman, Kuwait and Qatar issued condemnations of the attack, while Saudi
Arabia and Bahrain had yet to react on Sunday.
The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, for his
part, stressed his country's rejection of acts of terrorism and accused
Tehran of a campaign of official incitement against the Emirates.
State media initially gave a toll of 29 dead and 57 wounded in the attack,
including women and children, but Ahvaz city governor Jamal Alami Neysi said
Sunday this was a mistake and put the numbers at 24 dead and 60 wounded.
Their funerals will be held on Monday.
Three attackers were also killed and the fourth died later of his
injuries, the armed forces said.
IS had claimed the attack via its propaganda mouthpiece Amaq saying it 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.
A deadly and unforgettable revenge will be exacted in the near
future, it said.
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)