A suicide bombing struck a large crowd at military parade in western Iran on Wednesday, killing at least nine people and injuring 20 during a nationalist holiday meant to underscore Iran's battle readiness, Iranian media reported.
According to Iran's Arabic language Al-Alam television channel, the bombing struck a large crowd gathered in the city of Mahabad for annual Sacred Defense Week celebrations marking the 1988 end of the Iran- Iraq war.
Officials described the bombing as a "terrorist attack" that took place about 11 a.m. along a sidewalk, according to Los Angeles Times.
Western Iran, which has a sizeable Kurdish population, has seen deadly clashes in recent years between the Iranian security forces and Kurdish rebel groups, mainly the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) operating from bases in neighbouring Iraq.
In Tehran earlier in the day, Iran's top military commander insisted that the Islamic republic's military power was for defencive purposes only.
"The increased military capability of Iran is only a deterrent against aggressors and for defending our country against enemy threats," chief of staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said in a speech, Times of India reports.
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