Dozens Dead After Gunmen Open Fire on Military Parade in Iran

23 September, 2018, 23:27 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Breaking News

Dozens of people were killed with dozens others wounded in an attack in the southwestern Khuzestan province on September 22 targeting on an army parade commemorating the anniversary of the 1980-1988 Iran Iraq war, state media reported.

Of those killed, at least eight are believed to be members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.

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.

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.

"Based on its policy on using terrorism as a means...the USA is responsible for the durability of the ominous phenomenon of terrorism in the world, particularly in the Middle East, and it should be held accountable for violent behavior and measures by these groups", Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Sunday.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani vowed earlier Saturday to boost his country's ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his USA counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

"Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives", Zarif wrote on Twitter.

"Terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz", Mr Zarif tweeted.

Within hours of this statement, the Islamic State also claimed to be behind the attack and pledged more violence to avenge Sunnis.


Iran also summoned diplomats from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Denmark on Saturday, accusing their countries of harbouring Iranian opposition groups.

"It is Americans who instigate them and provide them with necessary means to commit these crimes", Rouhani said of the countries he was accusing.

Ahvazi Arabs are a small minority in mainly ethnic Persian Iran but sit on top of the bulk of the country's 137 billion barrels of oil.

Yaghub Hur Totsari, a spokesman for a group that identifies themselves as the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, said the Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella organisation of all armed movements, was behind the attack but did not specify which group. It was the deadliest such attack in Iran in almost a decade. Children and journos among casualties.

"Iran neither put its defensive arms aside nor lessens its defensive capabilities", Rouhani said.

"America is acting like a bully toward the rest of the world.and thinks it can act based on brute force", Rouhani told reporters just before leaving Iran for the United Nations meeting in NY. The Islamic Republic is also engaged in a proxy confrontation with Saudi Arabia and Israel across regional conflicts from Syria to Yemen. Iran sees Washington's main Arab ally in the region and a vocal critic of the nuclear deal, Saudi Arabia, as enabling USA economic policies against it and trying to foment unrest in the country. It also has steadily ramped up pressure on Iran to try to get it to stop what Washington calls "malign activities" in the region.

The decades-old feud between them is exacerbated by religious differences - Iran is largely Shia Muslim, while Saudi Arabia sees itself as the leading Sunni Muslim power.

Protests against the government and its handling of the economy that erupted across many provinces late previous year also took place in some cities in Khuzestan, where some of the most violent incidents took place.

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