Gunmen killed at least 10 people and wounded 20 or more others on Saturday in an attack on a military parade in Iran, news media linked to the government reported, in a restive region that is home to most of the country’s Arab minority.
The attackers fatally shot at least nine solders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and a journalist at the parade in Ahvaz, a city in southwestern Iran, multiple semiofficial news agencies reported. They said there were four gunmen, wearing military uniforms, and that security forces had killed two and captured the other two.
The reports quoted some officials as blaming the assault on Arab separatists. State television described the attackers as “takfiri,” a term often used to describe Islamic State fighters.
But the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, wrote on Twitter that “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime” were responsible, and that “Iran holds regional terror sponsors and the US masters accountable.”
Videos and photographs posted online reportedly showed the attack and its aftermath — civilians and soldiers dropping to the pavement, shouting and running for cover as gunfire crackles in the background, and later carrying away wounded and bleeding survivors, including children.
Some reports said the gunmen had tried and failed to reach the reviewing stand set up on a wide boulevard, where military commanders were watching the parade pass by.
Ahvaz, a city of more than a million people and the capital Khuzestan Province, has been a center of anti-government protest recently, plagued by drought, dust storms, unemployment and air pollution. The province, which borders Iraq to the west and the Persian Gulf to the south, dominates Iranian oil production, but local residents have complained that not enough of the revenue is invested there.
Arab separatist groups have operated sporadically in the region for years, and previous attacks have been attributed to them.
The parade was one of several held around the country to mark the start of Sacred Defense Week, which commemorates Iran’s 1980-88 war with Iraq.
Follow Richard Pérez-Peña on Twitter: @perezpena.