The Ahvaz National Resistance has been in the headlines following the attack in Iran last week. The little-known separatist militant group has no international recognition; Iran accuses the US and Gulf States of backing it.


On the afternoon of September 22, a bomb exploded at a military parade in Ahvaz, a southwestern city in Iran. At least 25 people were killed, of whom half belonged to the country's elite Revolutionary Guards, and 70 were wounded. 

There were several children among the victims according to information and pictures released by Iranian authorities.

The parade marked the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War in 1980. 

According to the Iranian Brigadier General Shekarchi four people were identified as attackers of whom three were shot at the attack site while the fourth died from his wounds in custody.

Daesh and the Ahvaz National Resistance claimed responsibility for the attack that was carried out in Ahvaz, the capital city of Khuzestan province. 

Who is the Ahvaz National Resistance?

The Ahvaziya is an Iranian ethnic Arab separatist organisation and considered a terror organisation by the Iranian government. It operates in and seeks independence for the oil-rich southwestern Iranian province Khuzestan.

Khuzestan borders Iraq to its west and the Persian Gulf to its south, making it the most oil-rich and the third highest GDP province of Iran.

Even though Khuzestan is regarded as the birthplace of the Iranian nation, Arab separatism has been a decade-long issue in the region. 

Even though only two percent of Iran's total population are Arabs, over 33 percent of Khuzestan's population is Iranian Arab. Other well-known Arab separatist movements operating in that region are the ASMLA and NLMA, both considered terror organisations by Iran.

While not much is known about the group, ASMLA, one of the main separatist Arab groups in Khuzestan, spokesperson Yaghub Hur Totsari said the Ahvaz National Resistance group is actually "an umbrella organisation of all armed movements" operating in Khuzestan for the cause of Arab independence from Iran.

Foreign backers?

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused the US of backing separatist movements in Iran. The Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif meanwhile said that the group is "funded by Saudi Arabia."

President Rouhani said the Unites States and Gulf states are causing bloodshed and threatened a thorough response.

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, rejected Rouhani's accusations.

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed "terrorists recruited, trained, armed and paid by a foreign regime" as the attackers. 

He continued on his Twitter account "Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks. Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of Iranian lives."

Meanwhile, Daesh also released a video on Sunday that showed three men in a vehicle who were allegedly on their way to carry out an attack on an Iranian military parade.

Two of the men spoke in Arabic about jihad, while the third spoke in Farsi suggesting they were targeting the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards vowed to exact "deadly and unforgettable" vengeance for the attack with Tehran still accusing Gulf Arab states of backing the gunmen.

Saturday's assault, one of the worst ever against the most powerful force of Iran, struck a blow at its security establishment at a time when the United States and its Gulf allies are working to isolate Tehran and are hoping for a regime change in the country.