Iran on Sunday warned the United Arab Emirates over “offensive remarks” attributed to a UAE “political advisor” on the weekend’s deadly attack on an Iranian military parade. The Emirati charge d’affaires was summoned to the foreign ministry over the advisor’s “blatant support” for Saturday’s attack in the city of Ahvaz that killed 29 people, said the ministry’s spokesman Bahram Ghasemi. “The summoning was over offensive remarks of a (UAE) political advisor,” he said in a statement.
“The charge d’affaires was warned that blatant support of terrorist acts by those linked to Emirati authorities will have repercussions for the UAE government,” said Ghasemi. The ministry did not disclose the advisor’s name or the controversial comments. Officials say 29 people were killed in the attack by four gunmen on a military parade in Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan province bordering Iraq. Iran blames the attack on an Arab separatist movement supported by a US-backed Gulf state.
The Pakistani PM had recently wrapped up a largely successful visit to Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has stated that while it enjoys a special relationship with Saudi Arabia, it plans on developing closer ties with Iran and revitalizing the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
In the Gulf, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar issued condemnations of the attack while Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain had yet to react on Sunday. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday appeared to blame Arab separatists for an attack on a military parade the previous day that left 29 people dead. “It is absolutely clear to us who have done this, which group it is and to whom they are affiliated,” Rouhani said on state television shortly before leaving Tehran for the UN General Assembly in New York.
“Those who have caused this catastrophe … were Saddam’s mercenaries as long as he was alive and then changed masters,” he said, referring to late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. “One of the countries in the south of the Persian Gulf took care of their financial, weaponry and political needs,” Rouhani added. “All these little mercenary countries we see in this region are backed by America. It is the Americans who incite them”, he said. Four militants on Saturday attacked the parade commemorating the beginning of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, launched by Baghdad, in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan Province.
Officials and an eyewitness said the gunmen were dressed in Iranian military uniforms and sprayed the crowd with gunfire using weapons they had stashed in a nearby park. The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for the rare assault. But from the start, Iranian officials saw an Arab separatist movement, the Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front (ADPF), also known as Al-Ahwazi, as the main suspect. On Saturday, the London-based Iran International TV aired an interview with Yaqoub Hor Altostari, presented as a spokesman for ADPF, indirectly claiming responsibility for the attack and calling it “resistance against legitimate targets”.
The recent worsening of tensions in the Gulf will have a negative impact on Pakistani efforts to promote peace in the region. The Pakistani PM had recently wrapped up a largely successful visit to Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has stated that while it enjoys a special relationship with Saudi Arabia, it plans on developing closer ties with Iran and revitalizing the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. The role of Pakistan as a mediator in the Middle East was a major theme of the victory speech of the current Prime Minister Imran Khan. Now it seems that Pakistan’s efforts to have a balanced relationship will face greater obstacles in the face of a new deterioration in intra Gulf relations.