Iran attributes bombings to foreign sources

Indeed, explosions and other forms of unrest have been occurring in southwestern Khuzestan Province since April, and the Iranian government has often attributed these incidents to foreign sources.

To date, however, no evidence to support these allegations has been offered. Tehran may be using a foreign scapegoat to deflect attention from simmering ethnic grievances in the region, or it could be retaliating against British accusations that Iran is supplying Iraqi insurgents with explosives. Tehran-London relations have deteriorated, furthermore, since Iran abandoned its temporary suspension of uranium-enrichment activities.

A "Mr. Shariati," identified as the deputy governor-general of Khuzestan for political-security affairs, said shortly after the bombings that they took place on Naderi and Salman Farsi streets around 5:15 p.m. local time, state television reported. Shariati said the bombs were placed in trash bins and were not very powerful, but because they went off in a crowded area, about 90 people were injured.

Suspicions of British intentions run deep in the Arab-inhabited southwest, and this was immediately apparent.

"Who could it have been but Britain?," an anonymous bystander told state television just hours after the bombings. The bystander said Britain's objective is "creating discord." He added, "In this holy month, they want to create discord between Shi'a and Sunnis." Iranian officials contributed to these suspicions. General Mohammad Hejazi, commander of the Basij Resistance Force, said in the northwestern city of Ardabil on 16 October, "The explosions in Ahvaz are linked to elements outside the borders of the country and only the British have been involved in them," the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported. Hejazi said Britain is trying to make Iran seem insecure, reports Radio Free Europe. I.L.

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