U.S. dismisses Iran blame over deadly attack

Geraldine Edwards
September 24, 2018

The comments come a day after an attack on a military parade that killed at least 25 people, nearly half of them members of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards.

Iranian officials, who blame the separatists for the attack, say the militants wore military uniforms and hid their weapons along the parade route ahead of time - showing a level of sophistication previously unseen by the separatists.

On the same day Arab separatists killed at least 25 people in an attack targeting a military parade in southwestern Iran, President Donald Trump's lawyer mounted a stage in NY to declare that the government would be toppled.

Some officials and the official government news agency IRNA confirmed the claim by the Ahvaz National Resistance umbrella group, which was created in 2005.

The Revolutionary Guards accused Shiite-dominated Iran's Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia of funding the attackers, while Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also blamed Iran's pro-US rivals.

He did not immediately elaborate, however Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province and has seen attacks on oil pipelines by Arab separatists groups.

A soldier runs past injured comrades at the scene of an attack on a military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak its 1980-1988 war with Iraq. Speaking on September 23 shortly before leaving Tehran for the UN General Assembly in New York, Rohani said the perpetrators of the attack and their affiliation were "absolutely clear" to Tehran.

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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.

The senior IRGC commanders said that the militants that carried out the attack were trained by the Gulf states and were ultimately backed by the US.

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 November 5.

The Gulf Arab state of Qatar, which is at odds with USA allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, condemned the assault on the military parade, which wounded at least 70 people.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say over all state matters, said the attack was a continuation of "conspiracies by US -backed regimes in the region".

Iran declared Monday to be a day of national mourning in which a funeral ceremony will be held for the victims of the attack. However, some analysts suggested that the scale of the attack merited a response from a senior US figure.

The attack came four months after President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, against the advice of the worldwide community and the wishes of 63 percent of the American public.

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The Iranian elite force, in a statement on Sunday, said that those behind Saturday's attack will face a "deadly and unforgiving revenge in the near future".

He blamed Saudi Arabia for fueling the movement.

Tehran has claimed in the past that Saudi Arabia provides support to separatists among its ethnic Arab minority.

Syria is a major ally of Iran, benefiting from generous military and financial aid from Tehran to fight the seven-year-old armed rebellion against the Syrian government.

Her words came just a day after the United States presidential lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said that the Iranian government will be toppled.

On Sunday, Iran's foreign ministry summoned a United Arab Emirates envoy over comments an unnamed official made about the attack, state TV reported, without giving further details.

"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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Iran has also been hit by sporadic street protests over economic hardship that have taken on anti-government overtones.

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