Saturday, February 17, 2007

Iran arrests suspects over bomb blast in SE
17 Feb 2007 20:00:38 GMT17 Feb 2007 20:00:38 GMT ## for search indexer, do not removeSource: Reuters
(Adds trial details)
By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Iranian security forces arrested several suspects after a bomb explosion in the southeast of the country, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Saturday.
Police and insurgents clashed after the explosion at a school in the city of Zahedan on Friday. The blast caused no casualties, the agency said on Friday.
"Some people suspected of being behind the Friday bombing have been arrested," a local military official told Fars.
"The armed bandits, in their new crime, exploded a percussion bomb and fled the scene," Zahedan governor Hassanali Nouri was quoted by Fars as saying.
He linked the bomb to the "massive participation of people in the funeral of victims of Wednesday's terrorist act".
A booby-trapped car blew up a bus owned by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 31 others.
Responsibility for that attack was claimed by a shadowy Sunni group, Jundallah (God's soldiers), which Iran has said is linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. Tehran has blamed Jundallah for past killings in the area bordering Pakistan.
It was unclear if the same group was behind the blast in Zahedan. Fars said that five arrested suspects accused of Wednesday's bombing had been put on trial on Saturday.
"The court reviewed the case of one of the accused people. The judge will issue the verdict soon," it said.
Iran has accused Britain and the United States of supporting ethnic minority rebels operating in sensitive border areas in an attempt to destabilize the country.
"International organisations can send their representatives to investigate the documents showing involvement of America and Britain in the blasts," Fars quoted Soltanali Mir, a senior local official, as saying.
The United States has accused Iranian groups of involvement in the war in Iraq. Iranian officials accuse the United States of trying to create a crisis in the Islamic state through ethnic divisions.
"Explosive devices and arsenals used in Zahedan's Wednesday blast are American-made," Mir said.
The upsurge in unrest in Sistan-Baluchestan follows violence in Iran's oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan, which has a minority Arab population.
The United States accuses Iran of wanting to build nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its atomic work is aimed only at producing nuclear energy.

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