Iranian officials have accused U.S. allies in the region of being behind a deadly attack on a military parade in the southwest of the country that left 29 people dead and dozens wounded amid claims of responsibility by two groups -- an ethnic Arab separatist group and the extremist group Islamic State (IS).
Neither Iranian officials nor the two groups claiming responsibility for the attack presented evidence to back up their claims.
According to domestic media, members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were killed, along with civilians watching the parade, including a 4-year-old child.
"Their crime is a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States, and whose goal is to create insecurity in our dear country," Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement issued on September 22 a few hours after gunmen attacked a parade in the city of Ahvaz, the capital of the southwestern Khuzestan province, where the majority of Iran's ethnic Arabs live.
Khamenei did not specify which states he was referring to.
Relations between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia -- Washington's main Arab ally in the Middle East -- have been deteriorating, with both sides accusing each other of creating instability in the region. Tehran has claimed in the past that Saudi Arabia provides support to separatists among its ethnic Arab minority.