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Gunmen attack Iranian military parade, casualties reported

By Rudaw 22/9/2018
Gunmen opened fire on a military parade in Ahvaz. Photos: ISNA via AFP
Gunmen opened fire on a military parade in Ahvaz. Photos: ISNA via AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A number of people have been killed and wounded in an attack on a military parade in southern Iran, the country’s media reported. 

Gunmen opened fire on the parade in Ahvaz, Khuzestan. At least eight IRGC soldiers were killed, according to initial reports. 

The total number of dead has risen to 24, according to IRNA. Civilians, including women and children who were watching the parade, are among the victims, an official source told the state-run media. 

Gunmen opened fire on the crowd of spectators and attempted to attack the viewing stand set up for officials, according to Fars News. 

Fars News video of the moment gunfire erupted:

Spokesperson for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Ramezan Sharif said the gunmen are associated with “the al-Ahvaziya group which is fed by Saudi Arabia” and supported by the UK. 

In recent years, the group has attacked convoys visiting the former frontlines of Iran’s war with Iraq, he noted, Press TV reported. 

A spokesperson for a group within the Ahvaz National Resistance, Yaghub Hur Totsari, confirmed to Reuters that one of their movement carried out the attack. 

Arabs make up a small percentage of Iran's population. The majority of them live in the south, including Khuzestan province where Arab separatist movements have been active for decades. 

ISIS also issued a claim of responsibility through its Amaq news agency, but without providing details.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed “terrorists” recruited and trained by the United States and vowed to respond “swiftly and decisively.” 

Four gunmen carried out the attack. Two were killed by security forces and two arrested, Khuzestan deputy governor Ali-Hossein Hosseinzadeh told ISNA.

Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his condolences to his Iranian counterpart, according to Interfax news service.

Iranian media reported Putin said he was ready to increase anti-terror cooperation between their two countries. 

Britain's Ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire called the incident a "shocking terrorist attack."

"Wherever it happens terrorism must be condemned. All our condolences to the families of the victims," he tweeted. 

Iran is staging several military parades nationwide to mark Sacred Defence Week and the anniversary of the start of the war with Iraq in 1980. 

President Hassan Rouhani took part in a ceremony at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Behesht-e Zahra, south of Tehran. 

He railed against US President Donald Trump in his speech and vowed to boost Iran’s defensive missile capacity. 

“Today it is no longer a proxy war. America has stood directly against the people of Iran, it has started breaching treaties and more than anything else this has despaired the people of America themselves,” he said. 

“You say that we should not be present in the region. Then what have you come here for from thousands of kilomteres away? We've always been protectors of the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, the Indian Ocean and the Bab al Mandab strait. Our vessels are patrolling those area and statistics prove that.”

Iran’s army and IRGC are staging joint drills in the Persian Gulf – some 600 naval vessels are doing maneuvers on Saturday in a show of strength near the Strait of Hormuz, the waterway Tehran has said they could block to impede transportation of a third of the world’s oil that is moved on the seas. 

Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran in May, re-imposing sanctions against the regime, including ones targeting Iran’s oil industry that will come into force in November. 

American officials have said they would be open to negotiating a new deal with Iran, one that would address Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional activities in addition to the nuclear issue. 

Iran says those issues are not open to discussion and accuses the US of destabilizing the Middle East.

“You gave bombs, missiles and the capacity to two countries so that they subject the poor people of Yemen to bombs and starvation. And obviously Iran is influential in the region, it's a big Middle East country and Iran will not stay silent to the suffering of countries in the region,” said Rouhani on Saturday. 

Rouhani left the event when news of the attack in Ahvaz broke, Iranian media reported. 


Updated at 3:06 pm


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Hama | 22/9/2018
Hopefully no accidental civilian casualties, but all the soldiers are green targets. These are the same people terrorizing millions across the middle east. Millions have died because of them and terrorists deserve every bullet. Let Iran have a little taste of its own medicine. When Iran does exactly this kind of stuff and much worse on a much larger scale killing hundreds of thousands of sunnis and injuring millions, it's okay and the victims are called "terrorists". But when something similar happens to Iran then they call it "terrorism". Just another example of Iranian hypocracy. They think shias are better than all other humans. Special rules apply for shias. A shia is free to kill children but a shia cannot be killed. Clearly it's not just kurds who are sick of Iran. This attack was by arab separatists and there are many other communities in Iran, even Iranians who wish nothing but death on the Iranian terror army.
Free Ahwaz | 22/9/2018
The Arabs of Awhaz rising up against the regime and Persian chauvinism is nothing new, they've always resisted and carried out many opperations in the past but Iranian media don't report it except when the regime needs an immediate enemy figure. Same with the Balouchs and others
Ranger | 22/9/2018
What you will not read from Iranian propaganda is the regime before hand usually clamps down on these minorities like Kurds Arabs etc. They take away certain rights, or abuse/humiliate people in public. Kurds are the first to answer such brutality and thus most cases occur in Kurdistan, but these other oppressed ethnicities also answer from time to time. Now the regime has an excuse to go after every Arab activist and descendent, there will thousands of detentions, torture, executions etc
Revenge | 22/9/2018
Good. So glad!! Well deserved evils. Have a taste of your own medicine.
bang | 22/9/2018
unfortunate about the civilians injuries but the rest are regime terrorists, they spread death through the whole region, they got what they deserved.
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