An Iranian Shahab-3 missile launched during military exercises outside the city of Qom, Iran, in June 2011. (AP/ISNA)

September 28, 2018

An Iranian media outlet close to the hardline Revolutionary Guard published a video on Tuesday threatening missile attacks on the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The video, in a tweet by the semi-official Fars news agency that was later deleted, comes as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for the attack in the city of Ahwaz on Saturday, which killed at least 24 people and wounded over 60.

The Fars video showed file footage of previous ballistic missiles launched by the Guard, then a graphic of a sniper rifle scope trained on Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

“The era of the hit-and-run has expired,” Khamenei is heard saying in the video, a clip from an April speech by the supreme leader. “A heavy punishment is underway.”

Fars did not say why it took the video down. However, it came just before President Hassan Rouhani was to address the UN General Assembly later in the day.

The Guard, a paramilitary force answerable only to Khamenei, has sole control over Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Martial propaganda films

The Fars video follows a long tradition of martial propaganda films from Tehran.

Iran released a video in 2016 showing Iranian forces triumphing over an American naval fleet after they shot down an airliner, a reference to the USS Vincennes downing an Iran Air flight in 1988, which killed all 290 people aboard.

Saturday’s attack targeted one of many parades in Iran marking the start of the country’s long 1980s war with Iraq, part of a commemoration known as “Sacred Defense Week.” Militants disguised as soldiers opened fire as rows of troops marched past officials in Ahwaz.

ISIS claimed Saturday’s attack, initially offering incorrect information about it and later publishing a video of three men it identified as the attackers. The men in the video, however, did not pledge allegiance or otherwise identify themselves as ISIS followers.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry on Tuesday identified the attackers as Hassan Darvishi, Javad Sari, Ahmad Mansouri, Foad Mansouri and Ayad Mansouri. It said two of them were brothers and another was their cousin.

Darvishi and Ayad Mansouri both appeared in the ISIS video. A third man in the video resembled either Ahmad or Foad Mansouri.

State TV reported late Monday that authorities have detained 22 suspects linked to the group behind the attack and confiscated ammunition and communication equipment.

The state-run IRNA news agency meanwhile dropped the death toll from the attack to at least 24 killed, noting the initial figure of 25 included one of the attackers. It said the assault wounded at least 68 people.

AP/Al Arabiya

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.