Thousands attend funeral for Iran attack dead

Thousands attend funeral for Iran attack dead

Kerry Wise
September 25, 2018

Thousands of people gathered in Iran's southwestern city of Ahvaz at a mass funeral for the victims of an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people.

Terrorists on Saturday opened fire at a crowd of people during a military parade in Ahvaz, killing 25 military personnel and civilians - including women and children - and wounding at least 68 others.

Three attackers were also killed and the fourth died later of his injuries, the armed forces said.

Top Iranian leaders also blamed the United State's Gulf Arab allies for the bloodshed that struck a blow at the heart of its security establishment.

A bipartisan USA group, the National Coalition To Prevent An Iranian Nuclear Weapon, released a statement this week signed by more than 50 prominent foreign policy figures claiming the Trump administration's approach to Iran has created a situation in which the regime is left with only "capitulation or war".

Saturday's attack, in which militants disguised as soldiers opened fire on an annual Iranian military parade in Ahvaz, was the deadliest attack in the country for nearly 10 years.

General Hossein Salami, acting head of the Revolutionary Guard, said at a mass funeral in Ahvaz: "You have seen our revenge before".

'It is not acceptable that the European Union does not blacklist members of these terrorist groups as long as they do not perpetrate a crime on the European soil, ' Qasemi is quoted as saying by Iranian state news agency INRA.

When asked whether that meant Trump would be willing to sit down with Iran's ayatollah, Pompeo replied, "The president said he'll talk with anyone if we can have a constructive conversation".

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The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was set up after the 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the Shi'ite clerical ruling system and revolutionary values.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said late on September 22 that the United States "condemns all acts of terrorism and the loss of any innocent lives".

Both ISIS and Ahvaz National Resistance, an Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, have claimed responsibility.

It is, however, highly unlikely the Guards will strike any of its foes directly and risk setting off a regional conflict.

A number of Iranian officials, including Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani, are expected to travel to Trump's hometown of New York City next week for high-level meetings at the United Nations General Assembly.

The Iranian foreign minister summoned the ambassadors of the Netherlands and Denmark and British charge d'affaires on Saturday evening, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said.

Shi'ite Iran is at odds with Western-allied Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia for predominance in the Middle East.

Responding to Rohani's accusations, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the BBC that Iran should "look in the mirror" for the causes of the attack, saying that Iran had "oppressed its people for a long time".

It answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.