Mattis: It is ‘ridiculous’ for Tehran to allege US involvement in Ahwaz attack
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday dismissed Iran’s threats of revenge after Saturday’s deadly attack at a military parade in southwestern Iran and said it was “ridiculous” for Tehran to allege US involvement.
When asked by reporters at the Pentagon if Iran’s threat worry him, Mattis said: “No it does not. We’ve been very clear that they shouldn’t take us on like that. I am hopeful that cooler, wiser heads will prevail,” Mattis said.
Earlie US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized his Iranian counterpart Mohamed Javad Zarif’s remarks, in which he accused regional states and the United States as behind the attack which 29 people were killed and scores injured.
Pompeo described Zarif's remarks as an enormous mistake as the incident happened inside Iran, regretting the fall of innocents in the attack, calling on the Iranian regime to focus on maintaining the security of its people rather than causing insecurity around the world.
On Monday, Iranian media quoted Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp, as saying that the attack, exposed the dark face of the US-led coalition and its allies to counter Iran’s influence in the region.
It is, however, highly unlikely the Guards will strike any of its foes directly and risk setting off a regional conflict.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani engineered Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that ushered in a cautious detente with Washington before tensions flared anew with US president Donald Trump’s decision in May to pull out of the accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, said a network of suspects had been arrested in connection with the attack, the judiciary’s news agency Mizan reported. He did not elaborate.
Karim Dahimi, a human rights activist in London, told Reuters local sources had said more than 300 people had been arrested in the cities of Ahvaz, Khorramshahr and Abadan in recent days, mostly from the Sunni Muslim community.