22 arrested over Ahvaz terror act: Intelligence Ministry


Iran's intelligence ministry said on Tuesday that investigators had found last week's deadly attack on a military parade in the mainly ethnic-Arab southwestern city of Ahvaz was mounted by "militant separatists".

At the funerals, Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alavi said the gunmen who opened fire on the parade had been killed and a number of their accomplices had been arrested, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Of the 25 killed, a dozen were members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the country's elite security and military organization.

President Hassan Rohani and other Iranian leaders blamed the Arab separatist group for the "terrorist" attack and accused the United States, Israel, and Gulf Arab monarchies of backing it.

"We stand with the Iranian people against the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism and express our sympathy to them at this bad time", Nauert said. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asked by a Fox News interviewer if the United States played any role in the attack, said: "When you have a security incident at home, blaming others is an enormous mistake".

There is reason to suspect this is true.

"God willing, I'm going to die", says one of the men, speaking in the dominant Iranian language of Farsi.

On Friday, the day before the attack, Rouhani wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post in which he said America's current policies toward Iran are "out of step with the realities on the ground - in Iran, in the region and around the world".

President Donald Trump also is paranoid about Iran, and openly talks about overthrowing the Iranian regime.

Iranian officials initially blamed Arab separatists, who they claimed were behind previous unrest, for the latest attack, saying they were backed by Gulf Arab allies of the United States. "But it's going to happen". He stressed the United States had no advance knowledge that such an attack was possible.

Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said a year ago that "we won't wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia".

Iranian concerns about US interference are linked more to John Bolton, now US President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser who spoke in support of MEK as an alternative to the Iranian government at the group's annual conference in 2017.

"You've got a lot of rhetoric coming from Rouhani". Well, you could try supporting separatist movements in the various ethnic minority areas that ring the country: Arabs in the southwest, Kurds in the northwest, Turks in the northeast and Baloch in the southeast.

Ahvaz has been the subject of several attacks by separatist groups over the past 10 years.

According to media reports, the Al-Ahvaziya terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack. He pointed out that "moving the battle to the Iranian side is a declared option", and predicted the number of such attacks "will increase during the next phase".

"They are funded by Saudi and UAE regimes".

Saturday's attack targeted one of many parades in Iran marking the start of the country's long 1980s war with Iraq, part of a commemoration known as "Sacred Defence Week".

Who was behind the attack?

According to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, support was filtered from the U.S. to "puppet" Gulf states down to armed opposition groups within Iran.

Gwynne Dyer's new book is Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and Work). But if not now, then soon.