0812 GMT February 21, 2019
Intelligence minister: Several terrorists arrested
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Iran will severely punish those elements who were behind a recent terrorist attack in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz.
Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting in Tehran on Monday with a group of athletes and medal winners of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Terrorists on Saturday opened fire at a crowd of people during a military parade in Ahvaz, killing 25 military personnel and civilians – including women and children – and wounding at least 68 others.
The Leader described the attack on defenseless people as a “cowardly move”.
“According to reports, this cowardly move was carried out by those who whenever get into trouble anywhere in Syria and Iraq, the Americans come to their rescue, and their hands are in the pockets of Saudi Arabia and the UAE” the Leader added.
On Monday, Iranians participated in a funeral procession for the victims of the terrorist attack in Ahvaz.
The Al-Ahvaziya terrorist group, which receives backing mainly from Saudi Arabia, claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after it was carried out.
Additionally, the terrorist group of Daesh claimed it was behind the attack and published online purported footage of the assailants, Press TV reported.
Three of the four assailants involved in the attack were killed by Iranian security forces, and a fourth one was arrested but later died of the wounds he had sustained during a security chase.
Iran summoned the ambassadors of the Netherlands and Denmark as well as the chargé d'affaires of Britain over sheltering members of Al-Ahvaziya.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed on the day of the attack that the terrorists had been "recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime" and said a response would be coming "swiftly and decisively."
President Hassan Rouhani later said a "crushing" response awaited those responsible for the attack.
And Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei tasked Iran's intelligence services with prompt work to identify the perpetrators and hand them over to the Iranian Judiciary.
Delivering a speech at the Monday funeral procession, Intelligence Minister Alavi said that a large number of terrorists linked to the attack had been arrested.
"Let those who committed this horrendous crime know: the sons of Islamic Iran will not be silent in the face of these criminal acts," Alavi said. "The crime of killing six-year-old children, [and] the crime of shooting at... women and children is nothing that... Iran's security, military, and intelligence apparatuses would let go [unpunished]."
He confirmed that those terrorists involved in the attack had all been killed and that their enablers "will be identified to the last person."
"Security and judicial forces will do justice to each and every one of the terrorists, and will send the message to the world that... Iran is not the place for such [terrorist] activities."
Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami said in a speech of his own at the funeral that Iran's response to the backers of the terrorist attack would be "crushing."
He said those who seek to "apply the Syria and Iraq model to Iran" would fail to accomplish their plot.
IRNA and Press TV contributed to this story.