Iran vows ‘crushing response’ after gunmen kill 29 at army parade

Pauline Gross
September 23, 2018

Khamanei's allegation will likely ratchet up tensions with Iran's rival Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, which along with the United States have been working to isolate Iran.

Speaking before leaving Iran to attend the UN General Assembly in New York, Mr Rouhani accused US-backed Gulf Arab states of providing financial and military support for anti-government ethnic Arab groups.

Nine of those killed are reported to be members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corp, the semi-official ISNA news agency said. The group provided no evidence for the claim.

The president offered condolences to the relatives and friends of those killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to those injured, according to the Kremlin.

Among the dead and wounded were a journalist spectator, civilians - including women and children - and military personnel, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who blamed "a foreign regime" for the attack. The two regional powers back opposing sides in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria as well as rival political groups in Iraq and Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE view Iran as a regional menace and have long accused it of meddling in other countries' affairs.

Several armed men who had been standing in the crowds watching the parade began firing randomly, Brigadier-General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for the IRGC, told state TV in a phone interview.

The attack undermined the Iranian government "on the day it wants to give a message to the world that it is powerful and in control", al-Tostari said.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, top center, reviews army troops marching during the 38th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of the late revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, outside Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

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

NPR's Peter Kenyon reported that initially, attackers were described as "takfiri gunmen" by news agencies, a term sometimes used to describe Islamic State fighters.

In the last decade, such attacks have been incredibly rare.

A 2017 double bombing in Tehran claimed by the Sunni extremist group Islamic State left 18 people dead.

Ahwaz is in the centre of Khuzestan province, where there have been sporadic protests by the Arab minority in mainly Shia Iran.

These savage mercenaries who open fire on innocent civilians, including women and children, are linked with the same liars who claim to advocate human rights, Ayatollah Khamenei added.

Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran's ambassador to the United Kingdom, called the channel's decision a "heinous act" in a post on Twitter and said his country would file a complaint with British authorities over the broadcast.

In a keynote speech, Rouhani vowed to boost Iran's ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

The attack took place in Ahvaz, with the assailants apparently targeting Revolutionary Guardsmen.

Other reports by GizPress

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