Babylon & Beyond

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IRAN: Deadly Shiraz blast was a bomb after all

May 9, 2008 |  8:46 am

Iran is now officially admitting that a deadly April 12 explosion at a mosque in southern Iran was a bomb attack and not an accident caused by leftover war props.

On Thursday, Iranian Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei told reporters that authorities had arrested six men in connection with the bombing, which killed 14 and injured nearly 200.

He blamed London and Washington for the attack:

The main suspect who had a direct role in the bombing had been arrested armed in one of northern cities on Wednesday afternoon as he was trying to escape from the country. The terrorist group has some links with the United States and Britain and Iran's foreign ministry had notified the countries about their terrorist operations.

Both the United States and Iran accuse each other of backing proxy fighters to pressure each other in a decades-long rivalry. The United States and Britain accuse Iranians of arming and training militant groups wreaking havoc on Iraq. Tehran accuses the United States and its allies of backing Kurdish, Arab and Baluchi separatist groups and militants fighting the Iranian government.

On Thursday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini ripped into a London appeal court's decision to remove the Mujahedin Khalq Organization, or the MKO, from the United Kingdom's list of terrorist organizations. The Iranian government despises the MKO, a cult-like Marxist-Islamist group based in Iraq and led by a woman named Maryam Rajavi.

Hosseini called the verdict (which the British government opposed) a sign of double standards by Britain. "Vast terrorist acts of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization against Iran's people and officials are clear, and the U.K., by removing their name from the list of terrorist groups, is helping promotion of terrorism and violence," he said.

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut