At least 25 people are dead and 60 others wounded after gunmen fired on a military parade in Iran on Saturday, according to Iranian state-run news outlet IRNA.
The dead and wounded were both military personnel and civilians including a journalist who were watching the parade, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) added.
Videos on social media show soldiers in uniform and civilians dropping to the pavement and running for cover, as gunfire rings out in the background. The attack lasted about 10 minutes, the BBC’s David Bamford told NPR.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) September 22, 2018
State media called the attackers terrorists and reported that all four gunman were killed.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier blamed regional countries and their “U.S. masters” for funding and arming the separatists, issuing a stark warning as regional tensions remain high in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.
“Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives,” he wrote.
Terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz. Children and journos among casualties. Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks. Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives. pic.twitter.com/WG1J1wgVD9
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 22, 2018
The U.S. State Department said it was aware of reports of the attack, in a statement emailed to NPR. “We stand with the Iranian people against the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism and express our sympathy to them at this terrible time,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said. “The United States condemns all acts of terrorism and the loss of any innocent lives.”
Saturday’s attack, in which militants disguised as soldiers opened fire on an annual Iranian military parade in the oil-rich southwest, was the deadliest attack in the country in nearly a decade. Women and children scattered along with once-marching Revolutionary Guard soldiers as heavy gunfire rang out in Ahvaz, the chaos captured live on state television.