Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tehran points fingers at US and allies over deadly attack



Tehran points fingers at US and allies over deadly attack

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Iranians carry the body of one of those killed during an attack on a military parade, during a mass funeral for the victims in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz on Monday. ATTA KENARE/AFP

Tehran points fingers at US and allies over deadly attack

IRANIAN President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday pointed blame at Arab separatists for a deadly attack on a military parade and accused an unnamed US-backed Gulf state of supporting them.

Tehran also summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain for allegedly hosting members of the group suspected of links to Saturday’s attack that killed 24 people, according to a revised death toll.

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.

Iranian authorities see an Arab separatist movement, the Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front (ADPF) or Al-Ahwazi, as 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.”

London-based opposition channel Iran International TV aired an interview Saturday with Yaqoub Hor Altostari, presented as a spokesman for ADPF, indirectly claiming responsibility for the attack and calling it “resistance against legitimate targets”.

But in a statement on its website, the group denied any involvement, accusing Iranian authorities of ordering the attack to distract from Tehran’s support for “militias in the region”.

Diplomatic row

Iran summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain to complain about them “hosting some members of the terrorist group” 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.

Iran also warned the United Arab Emirates over “offensive remarks” attributed to a UAE “political adviser” following the attack.

Oman, Kuwait and Qatar issued condemnations of the attack, while Saudi Arabia and Bahrain had yet to react on Sunday.

The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, for his part, stressed his country’s rejection of acts of terrorism and accused Tehran of a campaign of “official incitement” against the Emirates.

State media initially gave a toll of 29 dead and 57 wounded in the attack, including women and children, but Ahvaz city governor Jamal Alami Neysi said Sunday this was a mistake and put the numbers at 24 dead and 60 wounded.

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

IS had claimed the attack via its propaganda mouthpiece Amaq, and that the attack was in response to Iranian involvement in conflicts across the region.

The Revolutionary Guards accused Shiite-dominated Iran’s Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia of funding the attackers, while Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also blamed Iran’s pro-US rivals.

“A deadly and unforgettable revenge will be exacted . . . in the near future,” it said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42