Iran ar­rests ‘separatists’ be­hind deadly Ah­vaz pa­rade at­tack

The Miracle - - National & Int -

Saudi Ara­bia de­nied it backed the gun­men who killed 29 peo­ple at a mil­i­tary pa­rade in south­west­ern Iran, al­most half of them Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards, the Saudi state news agency re­ported on Tues­day. Ira­nian Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei said on Mon­day the at­tack­ers were paid by Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE), and pledged the Is­lamic Re­pub­lic would “se­verely pun­ish” those be­hind the as­sault. “Saudi Ara­bia re­jects and con­demns the false ac­cu­sa­tions that Ira­nian of­fi­cials have made about Saudi Ara­bia sup­port­ing the events that took place in Iran last Satur­day,” SPA quoted a for­eign min­istry state­ment as say­ing. “Saudi Ara­bia’s pol­icy is clear re­gard­ing its non-in­ter­fer­ence in the do­mes­tic af­fairs of other coun­tries. The Ira­nian regime, in con­trast, in­ter­feres in the af­fairs of its neigh­bours and is the lead­ing spon­sor of ter­ror­ism in the re­gion and the world.” The deputy head of Iran’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards also ac­cused the United States and Is­rael of in­volve­ment and said they should ex­pect a dev­as­tat­ing re­sponse. Arch-ri­vals Saudi Ara­bia and Iran, both oil su­per-pow­ers, are wag­ing a war for in­flu­ence across the Mid­dle East, back­ing op­po­site sides in con­flicts in Syria, Ye­men, Iraq and Le­banon.On Satur­day, gun­men fired on a view­ing stand in Ah­vaz where of­fi­cials had gath­ered to watch an an­nual pa­rade mark­ing the start of Iran’s 1980-88 war with Iraq. Iran, mean­while, ar­rested 22 peo­ple al­legedly linked to last week’s deadly at­tack, the in­tel­li­gence min­istry said. “The five mem­bers of a ter­ror­ist squad af­fil­i­ated to ji­hadist sep­a­ratist groups sup­ported by Arab re­ac­tionary coun­tries were iden­ti­fied,” the min­istry said in a state­ment on Tues­day.“The ter­ror­ists’ hide­out was found and 22 peo­ple in­volved [in the at­tack] were ar­rested,” it said, adding ex­plo­sives were seized along with mil­i­tary and com­mu­nica- tions equip­ment. “For­eign spon­sors and sup­port­ers of this ter­ror­ist act have also been iden­ti­fied. More in­for­ma­tion will be pro­vided on them in due course,” the state­ment said.Gun­men dressed in mil­i­tary uni­form opened fire on march­ing sol­diers, by­standers, and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, who had gath­ered to watch the pa­rade on Satur­day. Ira­nian of­fi­cials were quick to point the fin­ger at an Arab sep­a­ratist group and its al­leged in­ter­na­tional back­ers. They said that four gun­men had been killed. Ac­cord­ing to the Ira­nian Stu­dents’ News Agency (ISNA), an armed group called alAh­vaziya claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, while the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant group (ISIL) also said it was be­hind the as­sault. Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani vowed to de­liver a “crush­ing re­sponse”, while Iran’s Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei linked the at­tack to the US and its “al­lies in the re­gion”. Ah­vaz is the cap­i­tal city of Khuzes­tan prov­ince, which has the coun­try’s largest oil re­serves. With its proximity to Iraq and the pres­ence of a large Arab mi­nor­ity, the area has seen eth­nic vi­o­lence in the past Khuzes­tan was a ma­jor bat­tle­ground of the 1980s war with Iraq and it saw un­rest in 2005 and 2011. The prov­ince has also been the site of re­cent protests over a na­tion­wide drought and the econ­omy.

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