Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

US rejects Iran blame over parade attack

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Kenny Thornton | 24 September, 2018, 07:46

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported that eight troops had been killed and 20 people, including a woman and child, were wounded in the terror attack.

At least 29 people were killed and 70 others wounded in an attack on a military parade in Iran's southwestern city of Ahvaz on Saturday, Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported, citing the deputy governor-general of Khouzestan province, Hossein Hosseinzadeh.

Rouhani could have been referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain, all of which are close US military allies.

"All these little mercenary countries we see in this region are backed by America".

"It is absolutely clear to us who committed this crime. and whom they are linked to", he said.

If the terrorist attack in Ahvaz was part of a larger Saudi and UAE escalation in Iran, their goal is likely to goad Iran to retaliate and then use Tehran's reaction to spark a larger war and force the USA to enter since Riyadh and Abu Dhabi likely can not take on Iran militarily alone (indeed, after spending roughly $6bn a month, they have failed to defeat the Houthi guerillas in Yemen).

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

Early Sunday, Iran summoned diplomats from Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands over allegedly harboring "members of the terrorist group" that launched the attack.

"Terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz", Zarif said in a tweet, adding: "Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their United States masters accountable for such attacks".

The attack in Ahvaz came as the country marked the anniversary of the start of its 1980-1988 war with Iraq.

A video released by the Islamic State group's news agency, Amaq, shows three men in a vehicle who appear to be dressed in Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) uniforms, possibly on their way to carry out the shooting. It said gunmen wore military uniforms and targeted a riser where military and police commanders were sitting.

Such attacks tend to unite Iranian reformers and hardliners despite sharp differences over domestic and foreign policies.

Meghan Markle kept a memento from her first date with Prince Harry
Meghan went on to open up about the stunning floral embroidery on the veil, saying that every flower on it has meaning. Somewhere in here there's a piece of - did you see it? - the piece of blue fabric that's stitched inside.

Giuliani has made similar comments before on Iran, and the State Department has said he does not speak for the administration.

President Donald Trump decided in May to pull the United States out of the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal with Tehran and reimpose sanctions in a bid to isolate the Islamic Republic.

After the attacks in Tehran on June 7, 2017, Iran ramped up anti-militant operations across the country, targeting northwestern regions, the Iraqi borderlands and the Kurdish minority.

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".

Iran's religious leader Ali Khamenei echoed Rouhani's comments by also accusing US-backed Gulf Arab states.

Iran has previously blamed Saudi Arabia for supporting Arab separatists in the Islamic republic.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph today, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United Kingdom, underscored the vitriol between the two regional powers in a reference to the "destabilising and malign influence of Iran".

Another group, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Al-Ahwaz, was also accused of perpetrating the attack, but a spokesman, Yacoub Hor Al-Tustari, told CNN his group was not to blame.

Mr Trump is chairing a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday - and says the meeting will be focused on Iran. State media in Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the attack.

The Islamic State also claimed responsibility, with neither group providing evidence.

Gunmen opened fire on armed forces marching inside a park as well as spectators who had gathered to watch the parade, Brig. Members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and soldiers from the country's army, as well as civilians, including children, were among the victims.

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