Iran arrests '22 people' over Ahvaz attack

Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets on Monday for the funerals of those killed in the weekend's attack on a military parade amid conflicting claims over who was responsible for the shooting.

Gunmen fired on a viewing stand in Ahvaz where officials had gathered to watch an annual parade marking the start of Iran's 1980-88 war with Iraq.

The dead from Saturday's attack in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, blamed on Arab separatists, ranged from a disabled war hero to a four-year-old boy.

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

State media said the four attackers were dead.

The "formal incitement against the UAE from within Iran is unfortunate, and has escalated after the Ahvaz attack", Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates Anwar Gargash said.

Iran declared Monday a national day of mourning.

In the video, which appeared on social media on Sunday night, three men in a vehicle claim they are on their way to attack an Iranian military parade.

But Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Iran should "look in the mirror" for the causes of the attack and that Rouhani had "oppressed his people for a long time".

The Guard Corps was set up after the 1979 Islamic revolution to protect the Shi'ite clerical ruling system and revolutionary values.

"We will punish the terrorists, one by one", he said.

Iran's intelligence ministry reportedly says 22 people have been arrested in connection with Saturday's gun attack on a military parade in Ahvaz.

Speaking at the funeral, the Guard's acting commander, Gen. Hossein Salami, vowed revenge against the perpetrators and what he called the "triangle" of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

The region's Arab separatists, once only known for nighttime attacks on unguarded oil pipelines, accuse Iran's Persian-dominated Government of discriminating against its ethnic Arab minority.

In response to the attack, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told Fox News, "The United States condemns all acts of terrorism and the loss of any innocent lives". Iran believes the attack was carried out by militants trained by Israel and Gulf states, and supported by the U.S. But it is unlikely the IRGC will strike any of these foes directly.

Tehran has accused the UAE of sponsoring the attack. "It is Americans who instigate them and provide them with necessary means to commit these crimes", Rouhani said before leaving for the U.N. General Assembly in NY.

Iran is at odds with Western-allied Gulf country Saudi Arabia for predominance in the Middle East.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting in Tehran on Monday with a group of athletes and medal winners of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. The two regional powers back opposing sides in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria as well as rival political groups in Iraq and Lebanon.

  • Jon Douglas