The Guilfordian

Dozens left dead after attack on Iranian military parade

A group of terrorist separatists launched an attack at an Iranian military parade on Sep. 22, killing at least 25 people and wounding 53 others. Civilians and soldiers were harmed in the attack, with the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, quickly threatening those responsible for the assault.

The five men responsible for the attack were killed at the parade, and later identified by the Iranian government. By Sep. 25, a hideout used by the terrorists was discovered, with 22 people said to be involved in the attack being arrested, and large quantities of military equipment were captured.

The day of the attack, an Iranian separatist group, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, claimed credit for the massacre. The terrorist umbrella organization, which is fighting for the Khuzestan region of Iran to be independent, provided no evidence that it carried out the attack.

According to the Associated Press, the group said that it had succeeded in impairing the Iranian government “on the day it wants to give a message to the world that it is powerful and in control.”

Soon after the official condemnation of the attack by U.S. officials, Khamenei responded by saying that, “the cowardly attack was committed by those who are rescued by the Americans whenever they are locked in Syria and Iraq, and they are financed by Saudi and Emirates money.”

Similarly, the Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeted that “Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks,” strongly accusing the U.S. of being involved in the attack.

Iranian accusations of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two governments supported by and friendly to the United States, are in line with typical national rivalries within the Middle East. Iran calling on these countries is not likely to affect foreign policy between them and Iran, or between the U.S. and Iran, however, if the situation were to advance any further, the U.S. could see itself involved in the Middle East much more heavily.

“I think that it’s pretty realistic that the U.S. or its allies were somehow involved in this attack,” said Early College student Beka Bililign. “We’ve been involved in the Middle East for so long, at this point it wouldn’t surprise me if this type of accusation was true.”

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton threatened the Iranian government for their accusations. For many, these threats seem to be aimed at inflaming tensions, with the National Iranian American Council maintaining the belief that Bolton is trying to prevent “any possibility that his boss might negotiate with Iran, and goading Iran into to doing something that could justify a U.S. attack.”

Although relations between the U.S. and Iran have been tense for years, things began to look bright with the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015, which rolled back Iran’s developing nuclear program. The current U.S. administration has been pushing for a new nuclear deal with Iran; President Donald Trump described the current plan as a “one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”

“Whatever the U.S. does in regards to the possibility of a new nuclear deal, it seems pretty important to me that we keep Iran in check. We really don’t want another country to have nuclear weapons of any kind. There are already too many of those out there,” said Early College Student Rohan Akki.

The chaos left in the wake of the attack could have a large impact on this new nuclear deal planned by the Trump administration for November.

“Due to the social unrest in the Middle East and Iran, when it comes to November, Iran could face much more pressure,” said Professor of Political Science George Guo.

The future of U.S. Iran relations is cloudy, with this attack on Iran and the accusations from Iran of the United States only working to complicate matters. Whether or not this attack will have a major impact on this game of political chess is yet to be known, however, each side must choose their moves carefully, or risk escalating tensions even further.

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