DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused U.S.-backed Gulf Arab states of finishing up a capturing assault on a navy parade that killed 25 folks, nearly half of them members of the nation’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
Khamenei ordered safety forces to deliver to justice these answerable for one of many worst assaults ever towards the Revolutionary Guards, essentially the most highly effective navy power within the nation, which solutions to him.
The allegation will probably ratchet up tensions with Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, which together with america have been working to isolate the Islamic Republic.
“This crime is a continuation of the plots of the regional states which might be puppets of america, and their purpose is to create insecurity in our pricey nation,” Khamenei stated in an announcement revealed on his web site.
He didn’t identify the regional states he believed had been guilty. Israel can be a key U.S. ally against Tehran.
An Iranian ethnic Arab opposition motion known as the Ahvaz Nationwide Resistance, which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, claimed duty for the assault.
Islamic State militants additionally claimed duty. Neither declare offered proof. All 4 attackers had been killed.
The assault, which wounded not less than 70 folks, focused a viewing stand the place Iranian officers had gathered within the metropolis of Ahvaz to observe an annual occasion marking the beginning of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 battle with Iraq, state tv stated.
Iran has been comparatively steady in contrast with neighboring Arab nations which have grappled with upheaval because the 2011 uprisings throughout the Center East.
Ladies and kids died within the assault, state information IRNA company reported.
The assailants had hidden weapons close to the parade route a number of days upfront, stated Brigadier Basic Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for Iran’s armed forces.
“All 4 terrorists had been shortly neutralised by safety forces,” Shekarchi instructed state tv. “A four-year-old lady and a wheelchair-bound battle veteran had been among the many lifeless.”
Assaults on the navy are uncommon in Iran.
Iran summoned the envoys of the Netherlands, Denmark and Britain on Saturday evening over the capturing, accusing them of harboring Iranian opposition teams of their nations. Some members of the ethnic separatist actions are primarily based within the European nations.
Iranian international ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi stated Iran “requested their governments to sentence the assault and extradite folks linked to it to Iran to be placed on trial.”
“It’s not acceptable that these teams are usually not listed as terrorist organizations by the European Union so long as they haven’t carried out a terrorist assault in Europe,” Qasemi was quoted as saying by IRNA information company.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) has been the sword and protect of Shi’ite clerical rule in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Guards have a giant say in Iran’s regional pursuits and an enormous stake price billions of dollars in Iran’s financial system.
A video distributed to Iranian media confirmed troopers crawling to flee gunfire. One picked up a gun and scrambled to his toes as girls and kids fled for his or her lives.
State tv’s web site featured a video displaying confused troopers. Standing in entrance of the stand, one requested: “The place did they arrive from?” One other responded: “From behind us.”
Ahvaz is within the heart of Khuzestan province, the place there have been sporadic protests by minority Arabs.
The gunmen had been educated by two Gulf Arab states and had ties to america and Israel, in accordance with Shekarchi.
There was no speedy Gulf Arab touch upon his remarks.
Fars information company quoted a neighborhood Iranian official as saying that Monday can be declared a nationwide day of mourning.
Iran and Saudi Arabia help reverse sides in wars in Syria and Yemen and rival political events in Iraq and Lebanon, fuelling instability within the Center East.
The assault occurred a day earlier than Iranian President Hassan Rouhani heads to New York to handle the annual United Nations Basic Meeting subsequent week.
On his Instagram account, Rouhani stated: “Those that are supporting these terrorists shall be held accountable.”
Iranian analysts stated the assault might profit the Guards.
“Rouhani will use the terrorist assault to justify Iran’s presence within the Center East … The assault will strengthen the IRGC’s place inside Iran and within the area,” Tehran-based political analyst Hamid Farahvashian stated.
Iran faces stress to swiftly reply to the high-profile assault, which has damage the safety institution’s status.
“The assaults are doubtlessly meant to tarnish the status of the IRGC, however I imagine the terrorist incidents will strengthen the IRGC’s standing and even mobilize some public help,” stated Ali Alfoneh, senior fellow on the Gulf Arab States Institute in Washington.
Hardliners just like the IRGC have gained standing on the expense of pragmatists in Iran’s multi-tiered management since President Donald Trump determined in Could to tug america out of the 2015 worldwide nuclear take care of Tehran and re-impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“The US stands with the Iranian folks and encourages the regime in Tehran to give attention to retaining them secure at house,” stated Nationwide Safety Council spokesman Garrett Marquis.
Egypt, a key ally of Saudi Arabia, additionally condemned the assault.
Kurdish militants killed 10 Revolutionary Guards in an assault on an IRGC put up on the Iraqi border in July.
Final yr, within the first lethal assault claimed by Islamic State in Tehran, 18 folks had been killed on the parliament and mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founding father of the Islamic Republic.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom, further reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Parisa Hafezi, Babak Dehghanpisheh, Steve Holland and Sami Aboudi; enhancing by Gareth Jones and Sandra Maler