Bomb blasts rattle Iran

Four blasts targeted public buildings in the Arab majority south-western city of Ahvaz, near the Iraqi border, killed at least six people and wounded more than 70 others.

Hours later, a bomb exploded in a crowded square in the capital Tehran, killing two people. Three other bombs were defused.

The Islamic regime accused US-backed “terrorists” of seeking to destabilise the country just days ahead of presidential elections.

“The terrorists of Ahvaz infiltrated Iran from the region of Basra” in southern Iraq, top national security official Ali Agha Mohammadi told AFP.

“These terrorists have been trained under the umbrella of the Americans in
Iraq,” he charged, adding that Iran suspected British troops across the border might also have links to the separatist group, the London-based Ahvaz Arab People’s Democratic-Popular Front.

The bombings have rattled Iranians ahead of the elections, in which Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is favourite in opinion polls to regain the post he held from 1989 to 1997.

The bombs in Ahvaz, 550 km southwest of Tehran, targeted the governor’s office, as well as two local government departments and a housing complex for state media employees.

A pool of blood stained the floor of a waiting room at the governor’s office, where the explosion destroyed ceilings and smashed windows. The mangled wreckage of a car which might have carried the bomb lay in the street nearby.

The Tehran bomb was hidden in a rubbish bin. Apart from the person killed, five people were wounded, Ali Aghamohammadi, spokesman for the Supreme National Security Council, said.

Hardline Islamic vigilantes detained about 20 foreign journalists who had converged on the bomb scene and took them to a nearby mosque, one of the journalists said in a call from his mobile telephone. It was not clear why they were being held.