Islamic State claims Iran military parade attack, no evidence provided

Iranian Students' News Agency ISNA a Revolutionary Guard member carries a wounded boy after a shooting during a military parade marking the 38th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran in the southwestern cit

Iranian Students' News Agency ISNA a Revolutionary Guard member carries a wounded boy after a shooting during a military parade marking the 38th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran in the southwestern cit

At least 20 people, including a child and a woman, were injured in a terrorist attack on a military parade in Iran's southern city of Ahvaz on Saturday, the official news agency IRNA reported.

State television showed images of the immediate aftermath.

Iran blamed "U.S. puppets", including Saudi Arabia, for backing the group [s] from which the attackers allegedly came.

"Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their U.S. masters accountable for such attacks", he wrote on his Twitter account.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet that the attack near the Iraqi border was carried out by "terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime".

Yaghub Hur Totsari, a spokesman for a group that identifies themselves as the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, said the Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella organisation of all armed movements, was behind the attack but did not specify which group.

The attack was carried out by two gunmen on a motorcycle, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.

The semi-official Tasnim News Agency, first reported the casualties and included members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps among the victims.

The president offered condolences to the relatives and friends of those killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to those injured, according to the Kremlin. "They were just aimlessly shooting around and did not have a specific target". Shekarchi also claimed "the terrorists have undergone training in two countries in the Persian Gulf".

The assailants had hidden weapons near the parade route several days in advance, said Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for Iran's armed forces.

Among those involved are members of the Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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He warned the United States will regret its "aggressiveness".

"Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives", he wrote on Twitter.

"They are not from Daesh (Islamic State) or other groups fighting (Iran's) Islamic system. but they are linked to America and (Israel's intelligence agency) Mossad". The Guard also has vast holdings in Iran's economy.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE view Iran as a regional menace and have long accused it of meddling in other countries' affairs.

Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran's ambassador to the United Kingdom, called the channel's decision a "heinous act" in a post on Twitter and said his country would file a complaint with British authorities over the broadcast.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province, which has seen multiple attacks on oil pipelines by Arab separatists in the past. To bolster his claim, he gave details about one of the attackers that the AP could not immediately verify.

State television said the assault, which wounded more than 60 people, targeted a stand where Iranian officials had gathered in the city of Ahvaz to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic's 1980-88 war with Iraq. The militants have made a string of false claims in the wake of major defeats in Iraq and Syria.

Israel is also a key USA ally opposed to Tehran.

Rouhani said Sunday that the USA supports small nations in the southern Persian Gulf that in turn back the militants behind the attack. United Nations inspectors say Iran is still complying with the deal, which saw it limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

"We will never decrease our defensive capabilities... we will increase the day by day", Rouhani said at a military parade.

Separatists attacked an Iranian military parade, killing at 29 people and wounding 70 more.

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