U.S., Britain and Israel Accused in Attacks
On Friday, Jan. 27 Iran's Interior Minister, Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi, accused the United States, Britain and Israel of participating in twin bombing attacks which took place Tuesday, Jan. 24 in the south-western city of Ahwaz, Iran.
The two deadly bombings left at least eight dead and more than 40 injured.
According to Pour-Mohammadi, and reported by Iranian IRNA, ILNA, and ISNA news agencies, 10 people suspected of taking part in the attacks have been arrested so far by the police. He added that more people involved in the explosions have been identified and will be arrested soon.
The interior minister accused the aforementioned governments of deceiving ordinary Iranian citizens into committing such acts, stating, "The arrested are local inhabitants who have been motivated by the secret services of enemies of Islam due to their particular religious and ethnical goals."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's office has strongly rejected these accusations, calling them baseless.
One day after the Ahwaz explosions, Iran's Foreign Minister Manoochehr Mottaki, and Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ezhei separately accused Britain of being involved.
Tuesday's bombings were the fourth such incident in the past 8 months.
Air Crash Charges
Pour-Mohammadi further claimed on Friday that the three aforementioned countries were also behind two recent air crashes in Iran. One of them, two months ago, resulted in the deaths of more than 100 passengers, including at least 60 Iranian journalists. The incident caused widespread concern and public protests. In the other occurrence, an army helicopter transporting top Iranian army officers crashed, taking the lives of all 11 passengers.
The interior minister provided neither evidence, nor any further explanations to support his accusations. This is the first time that such charges were leveled in reference to the two air crashes.
These recent public accusations come after a new, more confrontational international policy stance by Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad's hard-line government, which now replies to international criticism by accusing the condemning countries rather than responding defensively.
One of the most recent charges against Iran came from the international organization Human Rights Watch, which indicated that Pour-Mohammadi and Mohseni-Ezhei have been involved in grave human rights violations over the past two decades, possibly including crimes against humanity in connection with the massacres of thousands of political prisoners.
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