Iran suspects Britain had a hand in dish of Saturday bombings

Iran's president continues to believe that Britain had a hand in the bombings that killed six people on the weekend, state television reported Monday. The British Embassy has denied the charge and condemned the blasts. "We are extremely suspicious that there was a British forces' role in the terrorist attacks," state TV quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as telling the Cabinet on Sunday.

Thousands of people took part Monday in the funeral in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, of the six people who were killed when bombs exploded Saturday in a shopping center in the southwestern town. Some mourners accused Britain of instigating the blasts, which wounded at least 102 people, the AP says.

On Sunday, Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said he believed the Ahvaz explosions were a continuation of previous explosions which, he claimed, were guided from abroad.

In June, four bombs in Ahvaz killed at least eight people. Iran blamed them on Iranian Arab extremists with ties to foreign governments, such as Britain.

Ahvaz is close to the border with southern Iraq, where 8,500 British soldiers are based as part of the U.S.-led military coalition. The city suffered two days of riots in April after reports circulated that the government planned to reduce the town's Arab majority in favor of Persians. The government denied the reports.

"Any linkage between the British government and these terrorist outrages is completely without foundation," the British Embassy in Tehran said in a statement Sunday.

In recent weeks, Tehran has accused Britain of provoking unrest in oil-rich Khuzestan. And Britain has accused Iran of supplying insurgents in southern Iraq with sophisticated bomb technology. Both countries have denied the respective claims.

On photo: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


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