Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi strongly condemned a terrorist attack in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, where 27 people were killed and over 150 others were injured after gunmen attacked a ceremony.
In a Friday statement, Mousavi extended his condolences to the Afghan government, nation, as well as families of the victims of the terror attack that took place earlier in the day in Kabul and killed at least 27 people and injured dozens more.
At least 27 people have been killed after gunmen attacked a ceremony in the Afghan capital where a top Afghan political leader, Abdullah Abdullah, was present but escaped unharmed.
The death toll at Friday's ceremony to mark the anniversary of a slain minority leader had risen to 27, a ministry of health spokesman said. Meanwhile, A NATO source told the Reuters news agency that the death toll was slightly higher: more than 30 killed, with 42 wounded, 20 of whom were in a serious condition.
It is the deadliest attack since a peace deal was signed last week between the United States and the Taliban that aims for the complete withdrawal of US and NATO troops in 14 months after more than 18 years of war. It was also one of the largest on civilians in Afghanistan in a year.
"The attack started with a boom, apparently a rocket landed in the area, Abdullah and some other politicians ... escaped the attack unhurt," Fraidoon Kwazoon, Abdullah's spokesman, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack and called it "a crime against humanity". Ghani also said he had Ghani said he had telephoned Abdullah, his longtime political rival who is contesting last month's Electoral Commission announcement that declared Ghani the winner of September's presidential election.
Broadcaster Tolo News showed live footage of people running for cover as gunfire was heard.
Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Kabul, said a standoff between Afghan security forces and the attackers lasted for nearly six hours.
The difficulty quelling the attack "really underlines that the Afghan security forces will be left in a fragile situation" after the foreign troop withdrawal, Abdel-Hamid said.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack on the gathering marking the anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, an ethnic Hazara leader who was killed in 1995 after being taken prisoner by armed Taliban fighters.
Fighting has continued to rage across the country since the signing of the deal, casting a pall over hopes that the agreement would lead to a reduction in violence.
Abdel-Hamid said the several groups operating in Afghanistan could be responsible for the attack.
"It could be ISIL, it could even be splinter groups from the Taliban," she said. "There were commanders and fighters who were not happy with the deal sign with the United States, and some have actually sworn allegiance to ISIL or other groups."
Several people were killed in a similar attack on the same commemoration last year. The ISIL (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for that attack.
Dozens of relatives gathered at the morgue of a hospital not far from the blast, with many breaking down in tears as they waited to identify their loved ones.
Ambulances and stretchers bustled between the scene of the attack and the hospital to deliver the wounded for treatment.
"I was at the ceremony when gunshots started. I rushed toward the door to get out of the area but suddenly my foot was hit by a bullet," Mukhtar Jan told Reuters from a stretcher at the hospital.
Ali Attayee, at the hospital to support his wounded brother, told the news agency, "Those who committed this crime want to destroy our people at this juncture in society, we're sorry for those committing such crimes."
Representatives of the US, European Union and NATO condemned the attack.
"We strongly condemn today’s vicious attack...We stand with Afghanistan for peace," the US charge d'affaires in Kabul Ross Wilson wrote on Twitter.
Hazaras are mostly Shia Muslims. Minority Shia have been repeatedly attacked by Takfiri and extremist militants in Afghanistan.