Gunmen fired on a military parade in southwestern Iran on Saturday, killing 24 people, half of them members of the Revolutionary Guards, state news agencies reported. Finally, IRGC meets fate it has dished unto others since the terror organization inception in 1979.
The attack is one of the worst ever on the elite terror force. State television said the assault, which wounded more than 60 people, targeted a stand where Iranian officials had gathered in the city of Ahvaz to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq.
An Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance (ANR) claimed responsibility for the attack. The IRGC killed all four attackers. Islamic State militants also claimed responsibility. Neither claim provided evidence.
Women and children also died in the violence, state news IRNA agency quoted an unnamed official source as saying. IRGC meets fate it has dished unto Syrian women and children in Syria.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) have been the sword and shield of Shi’ite clerical rule since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Guards also play a major role in Iran’s regional interests in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Their corruption has rubbed the Iranian people the wrong way.
A video distributed to Iranian media showed soldiers crawling on the ground as gunfire blazed in their direction. One soldier picked up a gun and got to his feet as women and children fled for their lives.
AYATOLLAHS OPPRESS AHVAZ MINORITIES
A video on state television’s website showed confused soldiers at the scene of the attack. Standing in front of the stand, one asked: “Where did they come from?” Another responded: “From behind us.”
The bloodshed struck a blow to security in OPEC oil producer Iran, which has seen domestic trouble rise recently. Many Arab countries grappled with upheaval since the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East the IRGC took advantage to settle scores and destabilize the majority Sunni Arab countries.
State television blamed “takfiri elements”, a reference to Sunni Muslim militants, for the attack. Ahvaz is in the center of Khuzestan province, where there have been sporadic protests by minority oppressed Arabs in predominantly Shi’ite Iran.
An Iranian military spokesman said two Gulf Arab states and had ties to the United States and Israel trained the gunmen.
Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi told the official news agency IRNA:
These terrorists… were trained and organized by two … Gulf countries. They are not from Daesh (Islamic State) or other groups fighting (Iran’s) Islamic system … but they are linked to America and (Israel’s intelligence agency) Mossad.
The Brigadier provided no tangible proof for the accusation.
Iran has suggested in recent weeks that it could take military action in the Gulf to block other countries’ oil exports in retaliation for U.S. sanctions intended to halt its sales of crude.
CORRUPT MILITARY FORCE SPREADING TERROR
The Revolutionary Guards are the most powerful and heavily armed military force in the Islamic Republic. Because of its corruption, it has a vast stake worth billions of dollars in the economy.
Tensions between mainly Shi’ite Iran and mostly Sunni Saudi Arabia have surged in recent years, with the two countries supporting opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen and rival political parties in Iraq and Lebanon. IRGC meets fate it has dished unto others as it occupies four Arab capitals.
Attacks on the military are rare in Iran.
Last year, the Islamic State claimed its first deadly assault in Tehran. The attack killed 18 people at the parliament and mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and first supreme leader of the Islamic Republic.
Reuters contributed to this article.