Bombs kill four in Iran

separatists blamed

October 16, 2005|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE ..

TEHRAN, Iran -- Two bombs concealed in separate garbage bins exploded yesterday in a downtown shopping mall in the southern Iran city of Ahwaz, leaving at least four people dead and 75 wounded, state-run television reported.

It was the first bombing since presidential elections in June, when a string of explosions went off in Ahwaz and in Tehran. Eight people were killed and 75 wounded in bombings in Ahwaz.

No arrests were announced in connection with those bombings, but the government blamed the attacks on Arab separatists with links to foreign governments, including British forces based on the other side of the border, in Iraq.

Iran has repeated its accusation in recent weeks that British forces were provoking unrest in Kuzestan province after Britain accused Iran of arming insurgents in southern Iraq.

Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi said it was too early to say whether there were links between the bombings yesterday and in June, the ISNA news agency reported. Another official, the deputy governor for security and political affairs, Gholam Reza Shariat, said no group had claimed responsibility for yesterday's bombings.

State-run television showed videotape of cars with smashed windows, and pools of blood on the ground. The bombs went off three minutes apart, about 5 p.m. local time, an hour before the fasting time during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan ended, and people were busy shopping or rushing home.

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