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Archive for Monday, October 17, 2005

Official lambastes London, Washington

October 17, 2005

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— Iran launched a double-barreled diplomatic assault on Britain and America on Sunday, accusing London of possible involvement in weekend bombings that killed five people and charging that Washington was bent on hauling Tehran before the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program.

Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said he believed the Saturday blasts that tore into a shopping center in Ahvaz near the Iraqi border were "a continuation of previous explosions that were guided from abroad," state-run radio reported.

Britain's embassy in Tehran released a statement condemning the attacks - and the accusations.

In June, when four similar bombings killed at least eight people in the same mall in Ahvaz, a city populated mainly by Iran's minority Arabs, Tehran blamed Iranian Arab extremists, accusing them of ties to British intelligence in neighboring southern Iraq. Britain denied the charge.

Also Sunday, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Washington was willing to skirt international law to block Tehran's disputed nuclear program. Asefi said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pressuring U.S. allies in a drive to punish Tehran at the United Nations.

"It is clear to us that Rice and her country are trying to lead Iran's case (to the U.N Security Council) and away from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)," he said.

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