Iran’s Khamenei says the attackers were paid by Saudis and UAE | Pakistan Today

Iran’s Khamenei says the attackers were paid by Saudis and UAE

LONDON: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Monday that the attackers who killed 25 people at a military parade were paid by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and Iran would “severely punish” those behind the attack.
“Based on reports, this cowardly act was done by people who the Americans come to help when they are trapped in Syria and Iraq, and are paid by Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” Khamenei was quoted as saying on his official website.
Four militants attacked 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 the gunmen were clad in Iranian military uniforms and had sprayed the crowd with gunfire using weapons they had stashed in a nearby park.
The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for the rare assault.
But Iranian authorities blamed “the Al-Ahwaziya movement” — pointing the finger at the Arab separatist movement in Khuzestan which includes various groups.
“One of the countries in the south of the Persian Gulf took care of their financial, weaponry and political needs,” said Rouhani.
“All these little mercenary countries we see in this region are backed by America. It is the Americans who incite them.”
The United States condemned the attack, with its UN envoy saying it had happened because Rouhani has “oppressed his people for a long time”.
“He needs to look at his own base to figure out where that’s coming from. I think the Iranian people have had enough,” said Nikki Haley.
London-based opposition channel Iran International TV on Saturday broadcast a claim of responsibility for the attack from a movement called the “Ahvaz National Resistance”.
Another group, the Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front, denied any involvement in a statement on its website, accusing Iranian authorities of ordering the attack to distract from Tehran’s support for “militias in the region”.
Iran summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain to complain about them “hosting some members of the terrorist group” responsible and “double standards in fighting terrorism,” the foreign ministry said.
The British charge d’affaires “was told that it is not acceptable that the spokesman for the mercenary Al-Ahwazi group be allowed to claim responsiblity for this terrorist act through a London-based TV network,” said ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.
Britain said its diplomat had extended the country’s condolences to Tehran and that Iranian officials were planning to lodge a formal complaint with the United Kingdom’s media watchdog, Ofcom.
Ghasemi also said Iran expected the Danish and Dutch governments to “hand over the perpetrators of this attack and anyone related to them to Iran for a fair trial”.
Denmark said there would be consequences if any such links were established, while the Netherlands said it had heard the Iranian version of events and offered its condolences.

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