Iran’s Revolutionary Guards threaten to avenge military parade attack

A general view of the attack during the military parade in Ahvaz, Iran September 22, 2018. Reuters

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SULAIMANI — Iranian elite Revolutionary Guards threatened to avenge an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, including 12 of their comrades.

“Considering [the Guards’] full knowledge about the centers of deployment of the criminal terrorists’ leaders..., they will face a deadly and unforgettable vengeance in the near future,” the Guards said in a statement carried by state media.

Four gunmen fired on a viewing stand in the southwestern city of Ahvaz where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq.

An Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance, which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Islamic State militants also claimed responsibility. Neither claim provided evidence.

All four assailants were killed.

Iranian officials have accused the United States and Gulf states of backing the gunmen.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused US-backed Gulf Arab states of carrying out the attack, which wounded at least 70 people.

The allegation will likely ratchet up tensions with Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, which along with the United States have been working to isolate the Islamic Republic.

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley rejected Iran’s accusations, saying “he [Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani] can blame us all he wants. The thing he’s got to do is look in the mirror.”

Iran has been relatively stable compared with neighboring Arab countries that have grappled with upheaval since the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East.