IRAN VOWS REVENGE ON U.S.
Rouhani points finger after mass shooting
AMMAN, JORDAN • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard vowed “deadly and unforgettable” vengeance Sunday for the mass shooting at a military parade as Iran’s president blamed U.S.-backed insurgents for killing 25 people in a hail of bullets.
President Hassan Rouhani accused the U.S. of inciting an unnamed ally in the Persian Gulf to carry out the attack Saturday in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, in which four gunmen disguised in military garb opened fire and killed 12 Revolutionary Guardsmen as well as a number of spectators.
“America is acting like a bully towards the rest of the world … and thinks it can act based on brute force,” said Rouhani, whose country is in the grips of a desperate economic situation brought on by sweeping U.S. sanctions.
“But our people will resist and the government is ready to confront America. We will overcome this situation and America will regret choosing the wrong path.”
Rouhani is on a collision course with President Donald Trump, whose decision to quit the 2015 nuclear deal is, to Rouhani’s mind, directly to blame for Iran’s financial crisis. The two leaders will attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, where each will address the world.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, brushed off the accusations from Tehran, saying of Rouhani: “The thing he has to do is look in the mirror.
“He’s got the Iranian people protesting. Every ounce of money goes into his military. He has oppressed his people for a long time. I think the Iranian people have had enough.”
Sunday morning, Iran summoned diplomats from the U.K., the Netherlands and Denmark, accusing them of harbouring Iranian opposition groups.
Rouhani then took to state television, declaring it “absolutely clear to us who has done this, which group it is and to whom they are affiliated,” without naming the suspect.
“One of the countries in the south of the Persian Gulf took care of their financial, weaponry and political needs.
“All these little mercenary countries we see in this region are backed by America. It is the Americans who incite them,” he said.
Within the hour, Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the United Arab Emirates charge d’affaires to rebuke him for comments made by an unnamed Emirati official about the bloody fusillade at the parade. The outcome of that meeting was unknown.
Shia Iran has long been locked in a struggle for regional dominance with U.S.-allied, majority Sunni, Saudi Arabia. The U.A.E. is a Saudi ally, and hosts a significant U.S. military presence.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph Sunday, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, underscored the vitriol between the two regional powers.
“There is still time for a determined international response that stops Iran from spreading its malignant influence to every corner of the region,” he writes.
Tehran has made no secret of its mounting fury at the U.S. over tightening sanctions, with Javad Zarif, the foreign minister, taking to Twitter on Friday to denounce “the Trump administration’s sense of entitlement to destabilize
the world along with rogue accomplices in our region.”