President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday Iran was ready to confront the US and its Gulf Arab allies, a day after an attack on an Iranian military parade killed 25 people, including 12 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards.
Speaking before leaving Tehran to attend the annual UN General Assembly in New York, Rouhani accused US—backed Gulf Arab states of providing financial and military support for anti-government ethnic Arab groups in Iran.
“America is acting like a bully towards the rest of the world...and thinks it can act based on brute force,” said Rouhani, who engineered Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal that ushered in a cautious detente with Washington before tensions flared anew with President Donald Trump's decision to quit the accord.
“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.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned the United Arab Emirates’ charge d'affaires over comments made about the bloodshed in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.
State-run Press TV said the action was taken over comments by an unnamed UAE official, without giving details.
The Gulf Arab state of Qatar, which is at odds with US allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, condemned the assault on the military parade, which wounded at least 70 people.
Gunmen fired on a viewing stand where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq.
Soldiers crawled as gunfire crackled. Women and children fled for their lives.
It was one of the worst ever attacks against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, the sword and shield of Shia clerical rule in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
It answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and runs its own business empire in Iran, a major oil producer that has been relatively stable compared with Arab states that have grappled with unrest since uprisings in 2011.
Since pulling out of the big powers’ nuclear pact with Iran in May, Trump has reimposed US sanctions meant to isolate Tehran and force it to negotiate tougher curbs on its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Iran has ruled this out.
“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,” said Rouhani.