Iran supreme leader accuses Saudi Arabia, UAE of funding Ahvaz attackers
Iran's supreme leader has directly accused rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of funding the attackers who killed 24 people at a weekend military parade.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the accusation on Monday, warning Tehran would severely punish the people behind the attack in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.
"This cowardly act was the work of those very individuals who are rescued by the Americans whenever they are in trouble and who are funded by the Saudis and the (United) Arab Emirates," Khamenei's official Twitter account quoted him as saying.
He did not give any further details on the identity of those behind the "terrorist attack".
In the immediate aftermath of the attack on Saturday, Iranian authorities said they suspected Arab separatist groups were responsible.
The UAE's foreign minister responded to accusations of involvment in the attack on Twitter, calling them "regrettable and unfounded".
That came after Tehran summoned the Gulf state's top diplomatic representative on Sunday over "offensive comments" made by a UAE political adviser.
The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility and has released a video purportedly showing three of the gunmen ahead of the attack.
Iran has said it has arrested a large network of suspects over Saturday's attack.
Khamenei, who was speaking to a group of Iranian athletes, said the attack "once again shows the Iranian nation faces many enemies on its proud path of progress and development".
"We will most certainly rigorously punish the perpetrators of this attack," he added.