Published: Wed, September 26, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Iran blames Gulf rivals for deadly attack on military parade

Iran blames Gulf rivals for deadly attack on military parade

Teheran also summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain for allegedly hosting members of the group suspected of links to Saturday's attack.

In a statement, the foreign office said that Pakistan is against terrorism and stands with the families of victims in this time of grief.

Four gunmen opened fire on the crowd on Saturday, killing civilians and 12 members of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards.

At least 25 people, including a four-year-old boy, were killed when gunmen disguised as soldiers ambushed the annual Iranian military parade, in the bloodiest assault to strike the country in almost a decade, which was captured live on state-TV.

Two of the gunmen were killed by security forces, while the other two were arrested, according to the local deputy governor, Ali Hosein Hoseinzadeh.

Civilians try to take shelter at the scene of a shooting near a reviewing stand during a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran on Saturday.

The militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the rare assault.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said the assault was the handiwork of "regional terror sponsors", language that usually refers to Iran's enemies Saudi Arabia and Israel, and "their USA masters".

Military forces and citizens who had gathered to watch the parade were among the killed, the report said.

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An anti-government Arab group, Ahvaz National Resistance, and Islamic State (IS) have both claimed the attack.

He did not name the regional states he believed were to blame.

"Iran will neither abandon its defensive weapons nor will reduce its defence capabilities", Rouhani said. The group provided no evidence for the claim, Reuters reported.

Tensions between traditional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia have surged in recent years, with the two countries supporting opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen and rival political parties in Iraq and Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said those who have provided "propaganda and intelligence support" for the terrorists are accountable for the attack.

Hours after the attack, Iranian officials have increasingly said they suspect Ahvazi separatists for the attack. The Guards are entrenched in those countries to defend Iranian interests.

Protests against the government and its handling of the economy that erupted across many provinces late a year ago also took place in some cities in Khuzestan, which reported some of the most violent protests.

Oil-rich Khuzestan in the past has seen attacks oil pipelines by Arab separatists.

Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi was quoted by IRNA as saying the terrorists were "not from Da'esh (ISIS) or other groups fighting (Iran's) Islamic system ... but are linked to America and the [Israeli worldwide intelligence agency] Mossad".

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