Attack on Iran army parade

Iran vows 'crushing response' after gunmen kill 29 at army parade

Iran vows 'crushing response' after gunmen kill 29 at army parade

An attack early on September 22 in Ahvaz kills at least 29 and wounds scores of people, according to Arabic language state TV al-Alam.

The spokesman also said because some of the wounded are in critical condition, the death toll is not final.

Reports say almost half of those killed were members of the Revolutionary Guard, who are under Mr Khamenei's command.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province.

Iran was marking the anniversary of the start of its 1980-88 war with Iraq with military parades across the nation.

The bloodshed struck a blow to security in OPEC oil producer Iran, which has been relatively stable compared with neighboring Arab countries that have grappled with upheaval since the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East.

State television blamed "takfiri elements", a reference to Sunni Muslim militants, for the attack.

State television showed images of the immediate aftermath.

Zarif did not specify which regional government he held responsible for the shooting, but the Revolutionary Guards accused Shiite-dominated Iran's Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia of funding the attackers.

The attack comes ten days after the U.S. said it would hold Iran accountable for attacks in Iraq after Iranian-backed militias targeted a U.S. consulate in Basra.

Iran vows 'crushing response' after gunmen kill 29 at army parade

The city 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.

Mohammad Javad Zarif on Twitter also warned that "Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives" after the attack in Ahvaz.

Emphasizing that a number of soldiers, as well as event organizers, were also shot during the parade, he said the most victims and those badly injured are ordinary people who were watching the event, noting that "we can not accurately declare the death toll at the present time".

IS has carried out a major attack in Iran before.

The attack comes a day after a group fighting against the regime in Ahvaz had told sent congratulations to Saudi Arabia for its national day.

In a video posted on social media of Saturday's attack, those present appear to at first think that the gunfire could be part of the ceremony, but then quickly realize it is a hostile attack and immediately begin to scramble from the scene.

Trump and Rouhani will both be in NY next week for the United Nations General Assembly. Those dignitaries were not harmed in the attack, it said.

IS has carried out a major attack in Iran before. "The attack will strengthen the IRGC's position inside Iran and in the region", Tehran-based political analyst Hamid Farahvashian said.

Saturday's attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran.

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