Iran launched a double-barreled diplomatic assault on Britain and America on Sunday, accusing London of possible involvement in weekend bombings that killed five people and charging that Washington was bent on hauling Tehran before the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program.
Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said he believed the Saturday blasts that tore into a shopping center in Ahvaz near the Iraqi border were "a continuation of previous explosions that were guided from abroad," state-run radio reported.
Britain's embassy in Tehran released a statement condemning the attacks - and the accusations.
"Any linkage between the British government and these terrorist outrages is completely without foundation," the embassy said.
Also Sunday, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Washington was willing to skirt international law to block Tehran's disputed nuclear program. Asefi said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pressuring U.S. allies in a drive to punish Tehran at the United Nations, reports Seattle Post Intelligencer.
In June, when four similar bombings killed at least eight people in Ahvaz, a city populated mainly by Iran's minority Arabs, Tehran blamed Iranian Arab extremists, accusing them of ties to British intelligence in neighbouring southern Iraq. Britain also denied that charge.
Iran has previously accused Britain, which has 8,500 soldiers based across the nearby Iraqi border, of encouraging the Iranian Arab separatists.
Earlier, however, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw underlined suspicions that Iran had a hand in bomb attacks on British troops in Iraq.
Last week Prime Minister Tony Blair said there was evidence the attacks in southern Iraq led back to Iran. His remarks followed the disclosure by a senior UK official that the sophisticated bombs that killed eight British soldiers were supplied by the Hezbollah terror movement via the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Speaking in London, Mr Straw said: "What we have presented to the Iranians is evidence which, in our judgment, clearly links the improvised explosive devices which have been used against British and other troops, mainly in the south of Iraq, to Hezbollah and to Iran," informs the AP.
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned his new US counterpart Joe Biden not to push Europe into an alliance against Beijing