Iran knows who is behind Ahvaz attack: Rouhani

By Muhammet Kursun, Abdul Jabbar Abu Ras, and Mustafa Melih Ahishali

TEHRAN (AA) – Iran’s president has said his country knows who was behind Saturday’s attack on a military parade which killed at least 25 people, Iran’s official news agency (IRNA) reported.

“Those who are the so-called advocates of human rights have to be held accountable for the attack,” Hassan Rouhani told reporters in Tehran on Sunday before leaving for the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York.

“Iran undoubtedly will not give up [investigating] the crime,” IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying.

Rouhani said the attack was backed by organizations supported by late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

They were working for Saddam in Iraq when he was alive, and after his death they started working for another country, he told reporters.

Rouhani said there is a Gulf state that currently supports those organizations financially, militarily, and politically.

Over 60 people were also injured in Saturday’s attack in Ahvaz, southwestern Iran, in which gunmen wearing military uniforms fired at Iranian forces for about 10 minutes.

The casualties included a woman and a child, a journalist, and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, according to IRNA.

– Ambassadors summoned

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned the charge d'affaires of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over UAE officials’ remarks allegedly supportive of the attack, Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency reported, without specifying the officials or the comments.

Iran conveyed to the envoy its strong protest over the comments, Fars reported.

The ministry also summoned the Dutch and Danish ambassadors to Tehran as well as the British charge d'affaires to voice strong protest of the countries allegedly hosting members of the terrorist group behind the attack, Fars reported, citing ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying in reference to Iran’s Al-Ahvaziya group, which Iranian authorities blame for the attack.

"It is not acceptable that the European Union does not blacklist members of these terrorist groups as long as they do not perpetrate a crime on European soil," Fars quoted Qassemi as saying.

Qassemi underlined that both the Danish and Dutch ambassadors were told that Iran “had already warned their respective governments against the residence of the terrorists in those countries and called for their arrest and trial,” said Fars.

For their part, the Dutch and Danish envoys, according to Fars, “expressed deep regret over the incident and promised to reflect all matters raised at the meeting to their respective governments.”

"They also announced their countries' readiness to cooperate with Iran in identifying the perpetrators and exchanging information," Fars quoted Qassimi as saying.

Iran told the British envoy that it is unacceptable that Al-Ahwazi was allowed to claim responsibility for the attack through a London-based TV outlet, Fars cited Qassimi as saying.

The British ambassador, who is visiting home, released a statement condemning the attack, as did Foreign Office officials, Fars cited the charge d’affaires as saying.

-Terrorists killed

Separately, army spokesman Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi said three terrorists were killed at the scene of the attack, while a fourth was wounded and died in hospital, IRNA reported.

Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) spokesman Ramezan Sharif said Saturday: “The attack by some elements of al-Ahvaziya group, supported by Saudi Arabia, aimed to overshadow the magnificence of the parade by the Iranian armed forces.”

However, later Saturday the Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack through the Internet.

The Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front (ADPF) or Al-Ahwazi on Sunday accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of committing the attack itself to gain sympathy.

Separately, Iranian authorities “temporarily” shut down two border crossings with Iraq: Shalamjah (adjacent to Iraq’s Basra province) and Al-Shib (adjacent to Iraq’s Maysan province).