Mon, Sep 24, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Iran links deadly attack to US-backed Gulf state

‘PUPPET COUNTRIES’:Hassan Rouhani accused the US of being a ‘bully’ that wants to create insecurity in the Islamic Republic, saying Washington will regret its ‘aggressiveness’

Bloomberg and Reuters, DUBAI

People take cover during an attack at a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, on Saturday.

Photo: EPA

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday accused a US Gulf Arab ally of supporting the gunmen who killed at least 29 people in an attack in Ahvaz on a military parade and vowed to respond “within the framework of the law.”

“One of the southern countries in the Persian Gulf is backing them financially, providing equipment and political support,” Rouhani said.

While he did not name the country, the remarks are likely aimed at regional rival Saudi Arabia, which is backing US President Donald Trump’s drive to isolate Iran and reimpose crippling sanctions against its economy.

The two Middle East nations are stuck in proxy wars in some of the region’s worst conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

Rouhani accused the US of being a “bully” that wants to create insecurity in the Islamic Republic.

Speaking before leaving Tehran to attend the UN General Assembly in New York, Rouhani accused US-backed Gulf Arab states of providing financial and military support for anti-government ethnic Arab groups.

“The small puppet countries in the region are backed by America, and the United States is provoking them and giving them the necessary capabilities,” he said.

“Iran’s answer [to this attack] is forthcoming within the framework of law and our national interests,” Rouhani said, adding that the US will regret its “aggressiveness.”

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

Ahvaz is the capital of the Khuzestan Province, which borders Iraq and is home to a large Sunni population and some of the country’s largest oil fields.

An Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance, which seeks a separate state in Khuzestan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Islamic State militants also claimed responsibility.

Neither claim provided evidence. All four attackers were killed.

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said that the individuals behind the Ahvaz shooting might have had ties to some European countries.

The ambassadors of the Netherlands and Denmark as well as the charge d’affaires at the British embassy in Tehran were on Saturday evening summoned separately over the shooting, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Iran had previously warned about “members of these terrorist groups” residing in Denmark and the Netherlands, and had called for their arrest and trial, IRNA reported, citing ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi.

The ministry yesterday also summoned the United Arab Emirates’ charge d’affaires over comments made about the attack, state television said.

The Saturday attack occurred at a military parade as assailants opened fire, killing dozens of Revolutionary Guards members and civilians, including a child and a journalist.

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