A deadly terrorist attack Saturday on a military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz, in a province bordering Iraq with many Sunni Arabs, has left at least 25 dead and 60 others injured, according to Iranian news agencies.
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.
Terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz. Children and journos among casualties. Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks. Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives. pic.twitter.com/WG1J1wgVD9
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 22, 2018
The parade was part of nationwide ceremonies held to mark the 30th anniversary of the ending of the eight-year war with Iraq in August 1988. At least half a million soldiers died during the war.
Khuzestan Governor Gholam-Reza Shariati was quoted by IRNA as saying the terrorists disguised themselves as members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji forces, and then “opened fire at the marching IRGC and people upon the stand during the parade.”
Iranian security forces shot and killed three of the terrorists and arrested a fourth, according to the news agencies. The fourth succumbed to his wounds shortly after.
Different officials and news agencies claimed different terror groups were responsible in the hours following the attack, with government officials agreeing that those who were ultimately to blame were “a foreign government” – which eventually became a list: the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi was quoted by IRNA as saying the terrorists were “not from Da’esh (ISIS) or other groups fighting (Iran’s) Islamic system … but are linked to America and the [Israeli international intelligence agency] Mossad.”
In local media, officials began to say that a regional group of Sunni Arab separatists which Iran claims is funded by Saudi Arabia and which has bombed targets in the province in the past were responsible for the attack.