Iranian leader blames Arab separatists for parade attack
Hassan Rouhani claims US-backed Gulf state supported gunmen who killed 24
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday blamed Arab separatists for a lethal attack on a military parade that killed 24 people and claimed that an unnamed Washington-backed Gulf state supported them, AFP reported.
Tehran summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain for allegedly hosting members of the group suspected of being involved in the attack on Saturday on a parade commemorating the start of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, capital of the border province of Khuzestan.
Officials and an eyewitness said gunmen wearing Iranian military uniforms sprayed the crowd with gunfire using weapons they had stashed in a nearby park.
The jihadist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the atrocity. However, Iranian authorities believe an Arab separatist movement, the Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front (ADPF) or Al-Ahwazi, is the main suspect.
“One of the countries in the south of the Persian Gulf took care of their financial, weaponry and political needs,” said President Rouhani. “All these little mercenary countries we see in this region are backed by America. It is the Americans who incite them.”
Washington condemned the atrocity, with its UN ambassador saying it had happened because Rouhani has “oppressed his people for a long time.”
Nikki Haley added, “He needs to look at his own base to figure out where that’s coming from. I think the Iranian people have had enough.”