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Iran summons 3 European diplomats over parade attack: state media

Un homme porte un soldat blessé lors d'une attaque à Ahvaz, dans le sud-ouest de l'Iran, le 22 septembre 2018
BEHRAD GHASEMI (ISNA/AFP)

Iran summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain over an attack on an army parade which killed at least 29 people near the Iraqi border, state-run media said on Sunday.

The Dutch and Danish ambassadors and the British charge d'affaires were "informed of Iran's strong protests over their respective countries' hosting of some members of the terrorist group" which carried out the attack, official news agency IRNA said.

The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the rare assault, which saw gunmen spray a crowd with gunfire in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on Saturday.

Iran was quick to blame Israel and the US for the attack, dismissing Islamic State's (IS) claim that they were behind it.

Iran called on Denmark and the Netherlands to extradite the attack's "perpetrators and their accomplices" to stand trial in the Middle Eastern country, IRNA said, citing foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi.

"It is not acceptable that the European Union does not blacklist members of these terrorist groups as long as they do not perpetrate a crime on... European soil," Qasemi was quoted as saying.

AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

The British charge d'affaires, summoned in the ambassador's absence, was told it was unacceptable "that the spokesman for the Al-Ahvazi terrorist group was allowed to claim responsibility of the attack through a London-based TV network", according to the news agency.

The British foreign ministry said its charge d'affaires had extended its condolences to Tehran and that Iranian officials were planning to lodge a formal complaint with Britain's media watchdog Ofcom.

Ghasemi also said Iran expected the Danish and Dutch governments to "hand over the perpetrators of this attack and anyone related to them to Iran for a fair trial".

He also said Iran had warned the United Arab Emirates over "offensive remarks" attributed to a UAE "political advisor" following the attack.

"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," Ghasemi said, without disclosing the official's identity or the nature of the comments.

He was referring to a group Tehran claims is backed by its arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

Iran blames the attack on an Arab separatist movement supported by a US-backed Gulf state.

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 state television reported initially reported that a "group of assailants" attacked the parade in the city of Ahvaz, held to mark the anniversary of the start of the devastating eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 1980.

"The response of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the smallest threat will be crushing", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on his official website. "Those who give intelligence and propaganda support to these terrorists must answer for it."

The province has seen separatist violence in the past that Iran has blamed on its regional rivals.

IS said via its propaganda mouthpiece Amaq that "Islamic State fighters attacked a gathering of Iranian forces" in Ahvaz.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites, reported that IS said the attack was in response to Iranian involvement in conflicts across the region.

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