Tuesday, October 16, 2018 | ePaper

Iran's President blames US after attack on military parade

  • Print


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 on Saturday.

AP, Tehran :
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that an unnamed U.S.-allied country in the Persian Gulf was behind an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people and wounded around 70.
Rouhani did not identify those behind Saturday's attack, which was claimed by an Arab separatist group. He could have been referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain - close U.S. military allies that view Iran as a regional menace over its support for militant groups across the Middle East.
"All of those small mercenary countries that we see in this region are backed by America. It is Americans who instigate them and provide them with necessary means to commit these crimes," Rouhani said.
Saturday's attack, in which militants disguised as soldiers opened fire on an annual Iranian military parade in the oil-rich southwest, was the deadliest attack in the country in nearly a decade. Women and children scattered along with once-marching Revolutionary Guard soldiers as heavy gunfire rang out in Ahvaz, the chaos captured live on state television.
The region's Arab separatists, once only known for nighttime attacks on unguarded oil pipelines, claimed responsibility for the assault, and Iranian officials appeared to believe the claim. Iran summoned diplomats from Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands early Sunday for allegedly harboring "members of the terrorist group" that launched the attack.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi later said the UAE ambassador would be summoned over "partial statements" in support of the group behind the attack, without elaborating.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier blamed regional countries and their "U.S. masters" for funding and arming the separatists, issuing a stark warning as regional tensions remain high in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.
"Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives," Zarif wrote on Twitter.
The parade was one of many around the country marking the start of Iran's long 1980s war with Iraq, commemorations known as the "Sacred Defense Week."
The attack killed at least 25 people and wounded around 70, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
It said gunmen wore military uniforms and targeted a riser where military and police commanders were sitting. At least eight of the dead served in the Revolutionary Guard, an elite paramilitary unit that answers only to Iran's supreme leader, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency. State TV hours later reported that all four gunmen had been killed.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the attack as exposing "the atrocity and viciousness of the enemies of the Iranian nation."
"Their crime is a continuation of the conspiracies by the U.S.-backed regimes in the region which have aimed at creating insecurity in our dear country," Khamenei said in a statement.
Tensions have been on the rise since the Trump administration pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran earlier this year and began restoring sanctions that were eased under the deal. It also has steadily ramped up pressure on Iran to try to get it to stop what Washington calls its "malign activities" in the region.
The U.S. government nevertheless strongly condemned Saturday's attack and expressed its sympathy, saying it "condemns all acts of terrorism and the loss of any innocent lives."
Initially, authorities described the assailants as "takfiri gunmen," a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group. Iran has been deeply involved in the fight against IS in Iraq and has aided Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country's long civil war.
But later, state media and government officials seemed to come to the consensus that Arab separatists in the region were responsible. The separatists accuse Iran's Persian-dominated government of discriminating against its ethnic Arab minority.
Khuzestan province also has seen recent protests over Iran's nationwide drought, as well as economic protests.

More News For this Category

Saudi Arabia warns against any sanctions over missing Khashoggi case

Saudi Arabia warns against any sanctions over missing Khashoggi case

Reuters, Washington :Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned against threats to punish it over last week's disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as European leaders piled on pressure and two more US

Trump says he is ‘comfortable’ as President despite political battles

Trump says he is ‘comfortable’ as President despite political battles

Reuters, Washington :President Donald Trump said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that he was "comfortable" in the White House after almost two years in office, despite political storms over

Prince Harry and wife Meghan expecting a baby

Prince Harry and wife Meghan expecting a baby

AFP, London :Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting a baby in the spring of 2019, they announced on Monday as they began a Pacific

May under mounting pressure to rethink Brexit plan

May under mounting pressure to rethink Brexit plan

Reuters, Belfast :British Prime Minister Theresa May was under mounting pressure on Monday to rethink her plan for leaving the European Union after Brexit talks reached a stand-off at the

Imran Khan's party loses seats vacated by him in by-poll

Imran Khan's party loses seats vacated by him in by-poll

PTI, Islamabad :Pakistan's deposed premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N recovered some ground in the by-elections by eating up the votes of prime minister Imran Khan's PTI, winning four out of 11

News in brief

Amnesty researcher abducted, beaten in RussiaAP, Moscow Rights group Amnesty International says its researcher in Russia's North Caucasus has been abducted and beaten while reporting on protests in the region.

Trump explains `eligibility` for those who want to come to US

Trump explains `eligibility` for those who want to come to US

PTI, Washington :US President Donald Trump has said that he wants people with merit, who can help, to enter the country and not sneak inside the border illegally."I'm very tough

No jihadists seen exiting Syria buffer on eve of deadline

No jihadists seen exiting Syria buffer on eve of deadline

AFP, Beirut  :Hardline fighters have yet to begin withdrawing from a planned buffer zone in northwestern Syria, a monitor and an AFP correspondent said Sunday on the eve of the

Trump thanks Turkey for pastor's release, denies cutting deal

Trump thanks Turkey for pastor's release, denies cutting deal

Reuters, Washington :President Donald Trump said on Saturday the release of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson after two years in Turkish custody was a "tremendous step" toward improved relations with Turkey,

US wants ‘regime change’ in Iran: Rouhani

US wants ‘regime change’ in Iran: Rouhani

Reuters, Tehran :The United States is seeking "regime change" in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, adding that the current US administration is the most hostile that the Islamic