Iran president Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States and its Middle Eastern allies directly for the attack on a military parade which killed at least 25 people, including 12 members of the country’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, according to Reuters.
Speaking shortly before leaving for New York where he is set to attend the UN General Assembly, Rouhani said the United States and its allies in the Middle East, notably Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, were financially and militarily aiding anti-government militants in Iran. Rouhani, who was instrumental in helping the United States secure a nuclear treaty under the stewardship of former president Barack Obama, said America had become a “bully” under Trump.
“America is acting like a bully toward the rest of the world…and thinks it can act based on brute force,” he said.
“But our people will resist and the government is ready to confront America. We will overcome this situation (sanctions) and America will regret choosing the wrong path.”
Rouhani is not fond of Trump after the latter made the United States withdraw from the nuclear deal and tensions have flared up constantly since then. Trump has directly threatened Iran in a tweet, while Rouhani has vowed that Iran would retaliate with the “mother of all wars” if the United States were to ever consider military action. He wrote an op-ed published in the Washington Post a day before the military attack in Ahvaz took place, in which he doubted the sincerity of Trump’s need to talk with Iran, saying that his country was committed to peace but Trump wasn’t.
“Trump’s offer of direct talks with Iran is not honest or genuine,” he wrote.
Rouhani went on to stress that Donald Trump intended to spread chaos in Iran and America’s “aggressiveness” was a result of the “fake analysis” being fed to it by Israel.
“America wants to cause chaos and unrest in our country so that it can return to this country, but these are unreal fantasies and they will never achieve their goals,” Rouhani said.
Shi’ite Iran has long been at loggerheads with Western-allied Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia. The two countries support fighting groups in wars in Yemen and Syria, with each hoping to dominate Middle Eastern politics.
The attack on Iran’s elite army unit, the Revolutionary Guards, during a military parade called to celebrate the annual anniversary marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq, has been claimed simultaneously by the Islamic State, as well as by the Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella group that claims to defend the rights of the Arab minority in Khuzestan, according to BBC.
Apart from military personnel, women and children also died in the attack.