NewsOtherMurky motives seen behind Iran blasts

Murky motives seen behind Iran blasts

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Jun. 12 – An hour after a state-run news agency reported a second explosion in Tehran, eye-witnesses reported that the blast near the capital’s Vali-Asr Square seemed to have been an accidental fire in the basement of a computer shop. A
local police chief’s account seemed to confirm suspicions that mysterious hands within Iran’s clerical regime wanted to present the incident as the latest in a series of bombings that took place in Tehran and the provincial city of Ahwaz, claiming eight lives in a single day and wounding 75 others, according to official statements. Iran Focus

Tehran, Jun. 12 – An hour after a state-run news agency reported a second explosion in Tehran, eye-witnesses reported that the blast near the capital’s Vali-Asr Square seemed to have been an accidental fire in the basement of a computer shop.

A local police chief’s account seemed to confirm suspicions that mysterious hands within Iran’s clerical regime wanted to present the incident as the latest in a series of bombings that took place in Tehran and the provincial city of Ahwaz, claiming eight lives in a single day and wounding 75 others, according to official statements.

“The fire in the computer shop was not the result of an explosion,” Col. Khancherli of Tehran police told the state-run ISNA news agency.

Four bombs went off in Ahwaz, capital of Khuzistan Province, where most of Iran’s oil reserves lie.

Hours later, a bomb in Tehran’s Imam Hussein Square killed one person and wounded five others. The Tehran bomb was hidden in a rubbish bin.

Responsibility for the Ahwaz blasts was claimed by a shadowy group calling itself the Ahwazi Revolutionary Martyrs’ Brigades.

After the blasts, 150 persons gathered outside the governor’s office in a government-organized demonstration, waving Iranian flags and chanting “Death to the hypocrites” — a term used for the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) Organisation.

Asked if the Mojahedin were to blame for the blasts in Ahwaz, Ali Aghamohammadi, the government’s chief security spokesman, said earlier today, “We are not blaming this on them at this juncture.”

But the government’s version of the events seems to have changed by the evening, when Aghamohammadi told journalists that some of the bombings “may have been the work of people who belong to the [Mojahedin”>”.

In statements sent to international news agencies, the MeK strongly denied any involvement in the blasts in Ahwaz and Tehran.

“It’s just a measure of the mullahs’ despair over what looks set to be a solid boycott of their sham elections on June 17 that they are falsely blaming these bombings on the Mojahedin,” Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the coalition National Council of Resistance that includes the MeK among its members, said in a telephone interview.

The government’s precipitous steps to blame the blasts on the MeK and opposition groups calling for a boycott of the elections seemed to lend credence to the exiles’ claims.

Later in the day, Aghamohammadi tied the bombings to the growing calls for a national boycott of the elections and blamed opposition groups who had called for a boycott for the bombings. He also suggested infiltrators had come from parts of neighbouring Iraq under U.S.-British control.

“Based on intelligence we received, a network was trying to create problems before the election,” he said.

Aghamohammadi said it appeared that some of the infiltrators belonged to the MeK, a claim strongly denied by the opposition group.

Iran experts reacted with strong scepticism to Aghamohammadi’s allegations. “These don’t have the MeK’s fingerprints on them,” Mustafa Akmal, a Middle East terrorism expert based in Cologne said in a telephone interview.

“The MeK has not engaged in any violent action for the past four years,” he said. “Even before ceasing its armed activities in Iran, it had a policy of claiming responsibility for all its operations.”

Walter Murray of the London-based risk assessment group Gulf Intelligence Monitor concurred with Akmal’s view.

“These guys have been committed to a strategy of political and propaganda pressure against Tehran, while trying to garner support in the West,” he said. “It would be foolish for them to undo all that with a few pointless bombings. This looks much more like an Iranian intelligence operation, or the work of some loose cannons in Iran’s huge military-security complex.”

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