Iran blames UK for bombs - reports
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian officials have accused Britain of involvement in two bombings in an oil-rich town near Iran's border with Iraq that killed five people and wounded 95 others, according to Iranian news reports.
The blasts Saturday shook the city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran, near the Iraq border which is secured by British forces stationed in Basra, Iraq.
The explosions came amid recent attacks and violence in Khuzestan province. Britain condemned the bombings.
A spokesman for Iran's government said Sunday Tehran was not officially accusing Britain, and would wait for the results of the investigation.
"Unlike the British, Iran does not make accusations without sufficient evidence to support them," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi.
Britain and the United States have accused Iran of allowing weapons to be smuggled into Iraq.
Javad Saadoonzadeh, a member of Iran's parliament, responded to the latest bombings by accusing Britain of trying to create insecurity in Khuzestan, the main economic artery of the country. He called it an effort to show the province is not safe and secure.
Echoing the same sentiment, Maj. Gen. Seyed Mohammad Hejazi, the commander of Iran's militia, said in a speech Sunday that the recent unrest in western Iran and the Ahvaz bombings "had an English accent" and were aimed at creating the impression that the country is lacking security.
The general also claimed that smuggling of weapons from Iraq to Iran had increased tenfold in recent years.
"If foreign forces are creating security in Iraq, then why has weapon smuggling increased?" he said. "If they cannot bring security, then they must leave and allow the people themselves to take charge of security."
Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohmmadi expressed his sorrow for the bombing, and hinted that Britain could be indirectly responsible.
"I think these explosions are a continuation of those same previous explosions that were guided from the other side of our border," the minister said.
But the British Embassy issued a statement Sunday condemning the bombings, calling them acts of terrorism and expressing sympathy for the victims and their families.
Iranian officials have accused Britain of being involved in past bombings, but the British Embassy in Tehran has denied the accusations.
Asefi said security and intelligence agents were looking into who was responsible for the bombings in Ahvaz.
He said when the bombers are identified the ministry will make the information public.
Journalist Shirzad Bozorgmehr in Tehran contributed to this report.
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