Several dead, dozens wounded after unknown gunmen attack military parade in Iran


Iranian state television said on Saturday that several people have been killed and wounded after gunmen attacked a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz held to mark the start of Iran's 1980-88 war with Iraq. "There are several killed and injured", a correspondent told state television.

Iranian armed forces members and civilians take shelter in a shooting during a military parade.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif blamed the bloodshed on "regional terror sponsors", language that usually refers to Iran's enemies Saudi Arabia and Israel, and "their USA masters", and vowed that Tehran would respond decisively.

State television blamed "takfiri elements", a reference to Sunni militants, for the attack.

The IRNA report said those wounded in the attack Saturday included a woman and a child.

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Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province, which has seen multiple attacks on oil pipelines by Arab separatists in the past.

The report Saturday described the assailants as "Takifiri gunmen", a term previously used to describe ISIS. The Guard also has vast holdings in Iran's economy.

Photos shared by a state news agency show a man in military fatigues with blood running down his back being helped towards a vehicle by a group of men. At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the attacks.

Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran's first supreme leader until his death in 1989.

In 2015, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both protested an Iranian crackdown against Ahvazi Arabs, as the regime undertook a large-scale campaign of arbitrary arrests in Khuzestan Province, where Ahvazis live and where most of Iran's oil and gas reserves are located. The assault shocked Tehran, which has seen few militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.