Iran has put the United States and Israel on notice that a “devastating” response is on its way after an attack on a military parade in Tehran left several dead and injured.
ISIS and another Muslim terror group have already claimed responsibility for the attack.
But Iran blames America just the same. And its government is promising a massive military response.
From the Times of Israel:
The deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Monday warned Israel and the US that they can expect a “devastating” response from Iran, repeating accusations of their involvement in Saturday’s attack on a military parade despite competing claims of responsibility from Islamic State and an Arab separatist group.
“You have seen our revenge before … You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating and you will regret what you have done,” Hossein Salami said in a speech shown on state television, Reuters reported.
Threatening what he called the “triangle” of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States, Salami said: “You are responsible for these actions; you will face the repercussions… We warn all of those behind the story, we will take revenge.”
Salami was speaking during a live broadcast ahead of the funerals of some of those killed Saturday when gunmen disguised as soldiers attacked an annual military parade marking the anniversary of the start of its 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Thousands gathered at the Sarallah Mosque at the city’s Taleghani junction, carrying caskets in the sweltering heat. Of the 25 people killed at Saturday’s parade, 12 were from Ahvaz and the rest from elsewhere in Khuzestan province
The attack saw gunfire sprayed into a crowd of marching soldiers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, bystanders, and government officials watching from a nearby riser.
Intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi announced the arrest of a large network of suspects, the judiciary’s news agency Mizan reported according to Reuters.
A news agency affiliated with the Islamic State terrorist group released a video Sunday which purported to show the perpetrators of a shooting attack at a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz which left at least 29 people dead, including women and children, and wounded dozens more, some of them critically.
The footage, released by the Amaq news agency, shows three men in a vehicle, apparently on their way to carry out the attack.
“We are Muslims, they are heretics,” one of the men can be heard saying in the video. “We will kill them with a guerilla attack, inshallah.”
In a further claim, Yaghub Hur Totsari, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement to Liberate Ahvaz, told Reuters the Ahvaz National Resistance umbrella organization of Arab anti-government armed movements was behind the attack, but did not specify which particular group carried it out.
Iranian officials blamed a number of different targets, including Israel, the US, and regional-arch enemy Saudi Arabia, while two groups — the Islamic State and an anti-government Arab group — claimed responsibility.
But in the hours following the attack, state media and government officials seemed to come to the consensus that Arab separatists in the region were responsible.
Ahvaz lies in Khuzestan, a province bordering Iraq that has a large ethnic Arab community and has seen separatist violence in the past that Iran has blamed on its regional rivals. The separatists, however, previously only conducted pipeline bombings at night or hit-and-run attacks.
The separatists accuse Iran’s Persian-dominated government of discriminating against its ethnic Arab minority. Iran has blamed its Mideast arch-rival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding their activity. State media in Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the attack.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused US-backed Gulf states of being behind the attack, saying in a statement that “this crime is a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States.”
“Their goal is to create insecurity in our dear country,” he added.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also immediately blamed the attack on regional countries and their “US masters,” calling the gunmen “terrorists recruited, trained, armed, and paid” by foreign powers. The claim further raises tensions in the Mideast as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers is in jeopardy after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the accord.
“Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, ordered the country’s security forces to identify those behind the attack, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency, and warned of an aggressive response.
“The response of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the smallest threat will be crushing,” Rouhani said on his official website. “Those who give intelligence and propaganda support to these terrorists must answer for it.”
Earlier Saturday, a spokesman for the Iranian army blamed Israel and the US for the attack.
Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi told the state news agency IRNA, that the gunmen who opened fire at the parade were “not from Daesh [Islamic State] or other groups fighting [Iran’s] Islamic system … but are linked to America and [Israel’s intelligence agency] Mossad.”
Shekarchi also claimed “the terrorists have undergone training in two countries in the Persian Gulf.”
Shekarchi said the dead included a young girl and a former serviceman in a wheelchair.
“Of the four terrorists, three were sent to hell at the scene, while the fourth who had been wounded and arrested went to hell moments ago due to his severe wounds,” Shekarchi told state television.
Khuzestan deputy governor Ali-Hossein Hosseinzadeh told the semi-official ISNA news agency that “eight to nine” troops were among those killed, as well as a journalist.
The Revolutionary Guard is a paramilitary force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guard also has vast holdings in Iran’s economy.
Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif also said that an Arab separatist group funded by Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia carried out the attack.
“Those who opened fire on civilians and the armed forces have links to the Ahvazi movement,” Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif told ISNA. “They are funded by Saudi Arabia and attempted to cast a shadow over the Iranian armed forces.”
State television immediately described the assailants as “takfiri gunmen,” a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group. Iran faced a bloody assault last year from the Islamic State group, and Arab separatists in the region have attacked oil pipelines there in the past.
Saturday’s rally was one of many in cities across Iran held to mark the anniversary of the launch of the war with massive Iraqi air strikes. …
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