KHAMENEI SAYS ATTACK LINKED TO FOREIGN REGIME ALLIED TO U.S.
TEHRAN, Sept 22, (Agencies): Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani vowed a “crushing response” after gunmen shot dead at least 29 people including women and children Saturday in an attack on an Iranian military parade.
The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed to have carried out the rare assault in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, while Iranian officials accused “a foreign regime” backed by the United States of being behind it. “The response of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the smallest threat will be crushing”, Rouhani said on his official website, after earlier addressing a similar military parade in Tehran to mark the start of the 1980-88 war with Iraq.
“Those who give intelligence and propaganda support to these terrorists must answer for it,” he said. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack near the Iraqi border was carried out by “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime”. “Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks,” he wrote on his Twitter account. 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. IS jihadists said via their propaganda mouthpiece Amaq that “Islamic State fighters attacked a gathering of Iranian forces” in Ahvaz.
State television gave a casualty toll of 29 dead and 57 wounded, while the official news agency IRNA said those killed included women and children among spectators at the rally. Many of the wounded were in critical condition. Zarif did not specify which regional government he held responsible for the shooting, but Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said the attackers were funded by Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia. “Those who opened fire on civilians and the armed forces have links to the Ahvazi movement,” Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif told the semi-official agency ISNA.
“They are funded by Saudi Arabia and attempted to cast a shadow over the Iranian armed forces.” Armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the dead included a young girl and a former serviceman in a wheelchair. Three attackers were killed at the scene, he said, and the fourth died later of his injuries, he told state television.
This picture taken on Sept 22 in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz shows Iranian men, women, and children lying on the ground and some seeking cover at the scene of an attack on a military parade that was marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its devastating 1980-88 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Dozens of people were killed with dozens others wounded in an attack in the southwestern Khuzestan province on Sept 22 targeting the army parade commemorating the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war, state media reported. (AFP) opposisive capabilities … we will increase them day by day,” Rouhani said at a military parade. “The fact that the missiles anger you shows they are our most effective weapons,” he said, referring to the West. The United States reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran last month, and a new round of even harsher sanctions targeting Iran’s vital oil sector is set to go back into effect on Nov 5. Washington has said it is ready to open talks on a new agreement to replace the July 2015 accord, but Tehran has said repeatedly it cannot negotiate under the pressure of the sanctions. Trump and Rouhani will both be in New York next week for the United Nations General Assembly. But Iran has repeatedly ruled out any meeting.