Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards vowed on Sunday to exact “deadly and unforgettable” vengeance for an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, including 12 of their comrades, and Tehran accused Gulf Arab states of backing the gunmen.
Saturday’s assault, one of the worst ever against the most powerful force of the Islamic Republic, struck a blow at its security establishment at a time when the United States and its Gulf allies are working to isolate Tehran.
“Considering (the Guards’) full knowledge about the centers of deployment of the criminal terrorists’ leaders …, they will face a deadly and unforgettable vengeance in the near future,” the Guards said in a statement carried by state media.
Four assailants fired on a viewing stand in the southwestern city of Ahvaz where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq. Soldiers crawled about as gunfire crackled. Women and children fled for their lives.
Islamic State’s Amaq agency posted a video of three men in a vehicle who it said were on their way to carry out the attack.
A man wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with what appears to be a Revolutionary Guard logo discussed the impending attack in Farsi in the video. “We are Muslims, they are kafirs (non-believers),” the man says. He adds: “We will destroy them with a strong and guerrilla-style attack, inshallah (God willing).”
Ahvaz National Resistance, an Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, also claimed responsibility for the attack.