Separatists Attack Iran Military Parade in Ahvaz, Killing at Least 29

Iran summons European envoys to protest over hosting separatists

Four gunmen in military uniforms aligned with a separatist group attacked a military parade on Saturday in the Iranian city of Ahvaz. The gunmen opened fire on civilians, and tried to shoot officers on the podium overseeing the event.

At least 29 people were killed in the attack, some as young as four years old. Over 60 others were wounded in the attack. Iran reported two of the gunmen were killed and two of them were captured.

ISIS claimed credit for the attack, which was followed by a group called the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz claiming they were actually behind it. The ISIS claim was likely false, as they claimed to have tried to assassinate Hassan Rouhani, who was not even there.

The struggle movement is an Arab separatist group that wants to make southwestern Iran an independent, Arab-dominated nation. Iranian officials were quick to complain about Gulf Arab states backing such groups.

In addition, Iran summoned the ambassadors of Denmark, Britain, and the Netherlands after the attack, complaining that the nations are hosting members of the separatist groups, and pushing for them to list the organization as a terrorist group after the attack.

An initial statement from the Iranian military blamed the US and Israel for orchestrating the attack, though subsequent statements focused on the Arab separatist movements, and regional nations who sponsor them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.