Iran arrests 'large network' over Ahvaz attack

A general view shows an attack on a military parade in Ahvaz Iran in this

A general view shows an attack on a military parade in Ahvaz Iran in this

Up to 29 people were killed and more than 60 others were injured after gunmen fired indiscriminately at the crowd during the military parade in Ahvaz on Saturday.

The harsh statement came as bodies of those killed in the attack were laid to rest in Iran's southwestern city.

Ahvaz National Resistance, an Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, and Islamic State have both claimed responsibility.

"This cowardly act was the work of those very individuals who are rescued by the Americans whenever they are in trouble and who are funded by the Saudis and the (United) Arab Emirates", Khamenei's official Twitter account quoted him as saying.

Reuters reported that Islamic State's Amaq agency posted a video that purportedly showed three men in a vehicle on their way to the parade. The men did not identify themselves as IS members but said they were on their way to carry out an attack on an Iranian military parade.

Hossein Salami, the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guard, was at a funeral for one of the attack's victims when he reportedly said, "You have seen our revenge before".

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp has been the sword and shield of Shi'ite clerical rule in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

"We will punish the terrorists, one by one", he said.

The Revolutionary Guard has accused Saudi Arabia of supporting the attack.




Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards vowed to exact "deadly and unforgettable" vengeance for the attack.

Saturday's assault in Ahvaz, the provincial capital of Khuzestan, was blamed on Iran's Arab separatists who Iranian officials claim are supported by the U.S.

But that remark came a week after Trump and Rouhani traded threats, and Iran's leadership replied by saying the time for talks was before, not after, Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal.

Jokar added, "What is clear is that the terrorist will receive a crushing response for the terrorist attack in Ahvaz".

There has been a blizzard of furious statements from top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, accusing Iran's adversaries the USA and Gulf states of provoking the bloodshed and threatening a tough response. But it is unlikely the IRGC will strike any of these foes directly.

It answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and runs its own business empire in Iran, a major oil producer that has been relatively stable compared with Arab states that have grappled with unrest since uprisings in 2011.

The Iranian foreign minister summoned the ambassadors of the Netherlands and Denmark and British charge d'affaires on Saturday evening, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said.

Accusations against Gulf countries will nearly certainly antagonise Iran's regional foe Saudi Arabia. The two regional powers back opposing sides in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria as well as rival political groups in Iraq and Lebanon.

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