Several terrorists disguised in military uniforms attacked a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, killing at least 25 and wounding 60.
State TV reports that the gunmen were on motorcycles and sprayed automatic gunfire into a crowd of dignitaries sitting on a raised platform watching the parade. It was also reported that all four gunmen were killed.
There were a couple of live videos of the attack.
— Press TV (@PressTV) September 22, 2018
There has been much speculation as to who was responsible for the attack.
Who carried out the assault also remained in question. State television immediately described the assailants as “takfiri gunmen,” a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group. Iran has been deeply involved in the fight against IS in Iraq and has aided embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s long war.
But in the hours following the attack, state media and government officials seemed to come to the consensus that Arab separatists in the region were responsible. The separatists, however, previously only conducted pipeline bombings at night or hit-and-run attacks.
The separatists accuse Iran’s Persian-dominated government of discriminating against its ethnic Arab minority. Iran has blamed its Mideast archrival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding their activity. State media in Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the attack.
Yacoub Hor al-Tostari, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement to Liberate Ahvaz, later told The Associated Press that members of an umbrella group of Ahvazi activists his organization leads carried out the attack. Al-Tostari said the attack undermined the Iranian government “on the day it wants to give a message to the world that it is powerful and in control.”
The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility in a message on its Amaaq news agency, but provided no evidence it carried out the assault and initially wrongly said the attack targeted President Hassan Rouhani, who was in Tehran. The militants have made a string of false claims in the wake of major defeats in Iraq and Syria.
It tells you a lot about the terrorist mindset that so many with a cause are eager to claim credit for murdering 25 people.
An ISIS attack makes the most sense. Hezbollah and Iran have been at war with ISIS in Syria and Iraq for more than three years. They’ve helped the Russians boot ISIS out of most of Syria. Other groups, including the so-called Arab Freedom Movement, haven’t demonstrated the capability to carry out such an attack in the past.
Before we cheer too hard that Iran got hit, it should be noted that past attacks in Iran have forced crackdowns on all dissidents, not just Arabs. Besides, murder is murder, terrorism is terrorism. It is the scourge of the 21st century and should be opposed no matter where it happens and to whom.