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Bombings in Iran kill at least 9, injure 90


A woman shouts women's rights slogans at an Iranian Women Movement rally in front of Tehran University on Sunday. About 300 women protested gender discrimination in the Islamic Republic. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
A woman shouts women's rights slogans at an Iranian Women Movement rally in front of Tehran University on Sunday. About 300 women protested gender discrimination in the Islamic Republic. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Ali Akbar Dareini Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran – Bomb blasts struck Iranian government buildings in the capital of an oil-rich border province, followed within hours by two other bombs in central Tehran, killing a total of nine people days before Iran’s presidential elections.

Iran’s security service blamed the bombings – the deadliest in Iran in more than a decade – on supporters of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

State-run television quoted hospital officials as saying at least eight people were killed and 86 injured in four bomb explosions in Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern Khuzestan province bordering Iraq.

Hours later, two small bombs exploded in central Tehran, killing one person and wounding four. Police said one suspect was taken into custody.

A spokesman for the Supreme National Security Council, Iran’s top security decision-making body, blamed groups affiliated to Saddam’s former Baathist regime in Iraq. State TV quoted spokesman Ali Agha Mohammadi as saying the perpetrators of the Ahvaz bombings had infiltrated into Iran from Basra in southern Iraq.

Some Sunni leaders in Iraq have accused Shiite Iran of meddling in Iraqi affairs by backing Shiite Muslim clergy and politicians in a bid to sway Iraq’s politics toward an Islamic establishment. Iran denies the allegations, but some speculate extremists loyal to Saddam could be trying to create insecurity in Iran ahead of the presidential polls.

Others pointed to a more local cause. Ahvaz was the site of recent violent protests over alleged plans to alter the proportion of Arabs and non-Arabs in the region.

Amir Hossein Motahar, director of security at the Interior Ministry, said one car bomb went off in front of the Ahvaz governor’s office. He said two separate bombs blew up inside the toilets of the city’s housing department and planning department. The fourth bomb, planted in a handbag on the street, exploded as experts tried to defuse it. The fourth site was near the home of the head of the provincial radio and television station.

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