A senior figure in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) warned U.S. and Israeli leaders to expect a “devastating” response from Tehran, accusing them of involvement in Saturday’s attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz, The Times of Israel reported.
Four gunmen disguised as soldiers attacked an annual Iranian military parade marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq in the country’s oil-rich southwest, killing at least 25 people and wounding 60 in the bloodiest assault to strike the country in recent years.
The dead and injured were a mix of members of the powerful IRGC as well as civilian onlookers, semi-official news agencies reported. During the parade, the crowd chanted, “Death to Israel and America.”
“You have seen our revenge before … You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating, and you will regret what you have done,” the IRGC’s deputy head Hossein Salami said in a speech before the funerals on state television Sunday.
Threatening what Salami called the “triangle” of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States, the IRGC leader said: “You are responsible for these actions; you will face the repercussions… We warn all of those behind the story, we will take revenge.”
Amaq agency, the official news outlet of the terrorist group Islamic State, claimed the attack and posted a video of three men in a vehicle who it said were on their way to carry out the assault. “We are Muslims, they are heretics,” one of the men can be heard saying in the video. “We will kill them with a guerilla attack, inshallah.”
However, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused U.S.-backed Gulf states of being behind the attack, saying in a statement that “this crime is a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States.”
The attack, one of the worst ever against the IRGC, struck a blow at Iran’s security establishment at a time when the U.S., Israel and Gulf allies are working to isolate Tehran on the international stage.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley dismissed Salami’s comments. “He’s got the Iranian people are protesting, every ounce of money that goes into Iran goes into his military, he has oppressed his people for a long time and he needs to look at his own base to figure out where that’s coming from,” she told CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’
Haley added: “He can blame us all he wants. The thing he’s got to do is look at the mirror.”
[Photo: Tasnim News ]