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Rare Bomb Explosions Kill Nine in Iran

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050612/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_explosions Rare Bomb Explosions Kill Nine in Iran By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer TEHRAN,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 12, 2005
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050612/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_explosions

      Rare Bomb Explosions Kill Nine in Iran

      By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

      TEHRAN, Iran - Four bombs exploded in the capital of
      an oil-rich province on the Iranian border with
      Iraq on Sunday, killing at least eight people and
      wounding at least 36, state-run television reported.
      Hours later, another bomb in central Tehran killed one
      person — a spree coming just days before the nation's
      presidential vote.

      The bombings were the deadliest in Iran in more than a
      decade.

      At least four women were among those killed in the
      explosions in Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern
      Khuzestan province. At least two of the explosions
      were caused by car bombs, witnesses said.

      Gholamreza Shariati, deputy provincial governor for
      security affairs, said the bombers were seeking to
      undermine public participation in Friday's
      presidential elections.

      Television footage showed shattered windows, collapsed
      walls and blood stains on the ground. The force of the
      explosions also damaged cars in the streets. Shariati
      said 36 people, including eight police officers, were
      injured.

      After the first three blasts, disposal experts tried
      to defuse a fourth bomb but failed, and it exploded,
      injuring one officer.

      Amir Hossein Motahar, director of security at the
      Interior Ministry, said one bomb went off in front of
      the Ahvaz governor's office and another next to the
      city's housing department.

      The third bomb blew up in front of the residence of
      the head of the provincial radio and television
      station, he said. The fourth bomb was placed near the
      same residence.

      Shariati said intelligence and security officials were
      investigating the bombings, which targeted "Iran's
      territorial integrity as it was on the verge of
      presidential elections."

      Later Sunday, one person was killed and four were
      injured in an explosion near Tehran's central Imam
      Hussein square, state-run television reported.
      State-run radio said the blast was caused by a bomb.

      Ahvaz was the site of two days of violent
      demonstrations in April after reports circulated of an
      alleged plan to decrease the proportion of Arabs in
      the area. Officials at the time confirmed one death
      but opposition groups said more than 20 demonstrators
      had been killed. Some 250 were arrested.

      The protests were sparked after copies of a letter
      allegedly signed by Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi
      circulated in the area. The letter ordered the
      relocation of non-Arabs to the Ahvaz to make them the
      majority population. Abtahi denied writing the letter.

      Arabs make up about 3 percent of Iran's population of
      69 million, Persians account for 51 percent and other
      minorities comprise the remainder.

      Bomb explosions have been a rare occurrence in Iran
      since the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
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