Iran holds United States, regional allies accountable for Ahvaz deadly terror attack

Gunmen Kill At Least 24 In Iran Military Parade Attack

But from early on, Iranian officials saw an Arab separatist movement, the Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front (ADPF) or Al-Ahwazi, as the main suspect.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday pointed blame at Arab separatists for a deadly attack on a military parade and accused an unnamed United States-backed Gulf state of supporting them.

The spokesperson described falsely the writer as a "political advisor".

Iran's government declared Monday as a nationwide public mourning day, state-run IRNA news agency reported Sunday.

However, Emirati academic Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, has tweeted on the Ahwaz attack by saying: "A military attack against a military target is not a terror act".

"Hopefully we will overcome these sanctions with the least possible costs and make America regret its aggressiveness toward other countries, and particularly Iran", said Rouhani.

The Leader said the "tragic and sorrowful" incident in Ahvaz and the killing of people by mercenary terrorists once again exposed the cruelty of the enemies of the Iranian nation.

"This crime is a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States, and their goal is to create insecurity in our dear country", Khamenei said in a statement published on his website.

But the move turned out to be a false flag, with Mr Rouhani later pinning the blame on neighbours much closer to home.

The Revolutionary Guards accused Iran's arch-rival Saudi Arabia of funding the attackers, while Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also blamed Iran's pro-US rivals.

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Iran also summoned diplomats from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Denmark on Saturday, accusing their countries of harbouring Iranian opposition groups. It also has steadily ramped up pressure on Iran to try to get it to stop what Washington calls its "malign activities" in the region.

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.

Women and children died in the assault, state news IRNA agency reported.

Following the attack, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also held regional USA allies responsible in a statement on Twitter.

Since pulling out of the big powers' nuclear pact with Iran in May, Trump has reimposed US sanctions meant to isolate Tehran and force it to negotiate tougher curbs on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Scott Lucas, an Iran specialist at Birmingham University in Britain and editor of the EA World View website, tells RFE/RL that Tehran's blaming of regional foes and the United States for domestic unrest is not new, while adding that it is "accentuated now by US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, imminence of comprehensive sanctions, and worsening of the Iranian economy".

Iran and Saudi Arabia back opposing sides in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria as well as rival political groups in Iraq and Lebanon.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic would give a "crushing" response to the slightest threat against the country. The shooting was one of the worst militant attacks in the country's modern history. Saturday's attack dealt a blow not just to a security institution, but to the core of Iran's identity.

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Saturday said that US sanctions on Iran are leading to economic pain that could lead to a "successful revolution", contrasting with administration comments that government change in Tehran is not USA policy.

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