Terror Attack on Iran Military Parade Kills at Least 29, Officials Say

Terror Attack on Iran Military Parade Kills at Least 29, Officials Say

Members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and soldiers from the country's army, as well as civilians including children, were among the victims.

Yaghub Hur Totsari, spokesman for Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella group that claims to defend the rights of the Arab minority in Khuzestan Province, told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that the group was responsible for the attack.

Rouhani's remarks could refer to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain - close USA military allies that view Iran as a regional menace over its support for militant groups across the Middle East.

"Based on its policy on using terrorism as a means...the United States 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.

Gunmen fired on a viewing stand where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic's 1980-88 war with Iraq.

The attack in Ahvaz took place on the eve of President Rohani scheduled departure for NY to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

Khuzestan was a major battleground of the 1980s war with Iraq and the province saw unrest in 2005 and 2011, but has since been largely quiet.

Fars news agency quoted a local Iranian official as saying that Monday would be declared a national day of mourning.

Meanwhile, Iranian Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for the armed forces, alleged without evidence that the four militants involved in Saturday's attack "were dependent to the intelligence services of the US and the Mossad" of Israel. He said Iran would respond to the attack in a lawful way.

The United States reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran last month, and a new round of even harsher sanctions targeting Iran's vital oil sector is set to go back into effect on 5 November.

The Al Qaeda attack on USS Cole was reported as a terrorist attack by the media.

Iranian soldiers take shelter during a terror attack in a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, Sept. 22, 2018.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Sunday that Trump was willing to meet top Iranian officials for talks.

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Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the attack as exposing "the atrocity and viciousness of the enemies of the Iranian nation". "Instead, we will work so that the battle is for them in Iran".

Rohani said in a statement that "the response of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the smallest threat will be crushing".

Senior Guards commanders have said the Ahvaz attack was carried out by militants trained by Gulf states and Israel and backed by America.

He warned the United States will regret its "aggressiveness".

"We are not waiting until there becomes a battle in Saudi Arabia, so we will work so that it becomes a battle for them in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia".

Rouhani engineered Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that ushered in a cautious detente with Washington before tensions flared anew with President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Tehran summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain for allegedly hosting members of the group suspected of links to Saturday's attack that killed 24 people, according to a revised death toll.

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

Attacks on the military are rare in Iran.

A spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards, however, alleged that the attackers were separatists backed by Saudia Arabia, Iran's regional archrival.

The government of Syria also expressed its "full sympathy and solidarity" with Iran, while Turkey slammed a "heinous terrorist attack".

"Saturday's attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran".

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