Iran blames Gulf rivals for deadly attack on military parade

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A senior adviser to the Leader also said that the "terrorist and brutal" attack in Ahvaz and the killing of defenseless Iranian people were another show of a "blind and vile measure" by criminals who have targeted Iran's power.

On June 7, 2017, 17 people were killed and dozens wounded in simultaneous attacks in Tehran on the parliament building and on the tomb of revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini - the first inside Iran claimed by the Sunni Muslim extremists of the Islamic State group.

Fars, another state news agency, says there were four gunmen and that the attack began half an hour after the parade began at 8.30am local time (6am in the UK).

The so-called Islamic State and the separatist Arab-Sunni group Al-Ahvazieh have both claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ahvaz, in southwestern Khuzestan province, is home to the small Arab minority in Iran, which is mainly ethnic Persian, and has been the site of sporadic unrest.

Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif told ISNA that an Arab separatist group carried out the attack, without elaborating.

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A video on state television's website showed confused soldiers.

State press added that those injured included a woman and a child.

Iran is marking the anniversary of the beginning of the 1980-88 war with Iraq with several military parades across the nation.

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Zarif vowed Iran would "respond swiftly and decisively in defence of Iranian lives".

The parade was part of nationwide celebrations in Iran to mark the 30th anniversary since the end of the eight-year war with Iraq that started in September 1980 and ended in August 1988.

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Iran has intervened in the wars in Syria and Iraq and plays an influential role in Yemen, but this was a rare attack on its own soil.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif immediately blamed the attack on regional countries and their "U.S. masters", further raising regional tensions as Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers is in jeopardy after President Donald Trump withdrew America from the accord.

"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 attack occurred a day before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani heads to NY to address the annual U.N. General Assembly next week.

Yaghub Hur Totsari, spokesman for one of the two groups that identify themselves as the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, said the Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella organisation of all armed movements, was behind the attack but did not specify which group.

Kurdish militants killed 10 Revolutionary Guards in an attack on an IRGC post on the Iraqi border in July.

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