Reuters: Iran’s leading hardline newspapers on Tuesday called on the government to cut diplomatic ties with Britain after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused London of being behind deadly weekend bombings in southern Iran. Reuters
By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN – Iran’s leading hardline newspapers on Tuesday called on the government to cut diplomatic ties with Britain after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused London of being behind deadly weekend bombings in southern Iran.
Ahmadinejad said on Sunday Iran was “very suspicious about the role of British forces” in the twin blasts in southern city of Ahvaz on Saturday, which killed six people and wounded 100.
Britain has denied any link with the bombings as well as a series of attacks earlier this year in Khuzestan province, the heart of Iran’s oil industry, which borders southern Iraq.
Kayhan, one of Iran’s four leading hardline newspapers, called on the government to reconsider its ties with London.
The influential newspaper’s editor-in-chief was appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters.
“Tolerating imposed crisis is against our dignity,” Kayhan said in an editorial. “We should start with mild reactions like closing the British embassy and eventually sever the ties.”
Relations between Tehran and London have deteriorated sharply in recent weeks over Britain’s support for U.S. moves to refer Iran’s nuclear case to the U.N. Security Council and accusations that Iran was linked to insurgent attacks on British troops in Iraq.
Tehran rejects meddling in Iraq and seeking nuclear weapons.
Local authorities said police defused a large bomb, hidden under a bridge, in Ahvaz on Monday.
“When police was investigating in Ahvaz, they found a bag full of explosive material,” a local authority spokesman said.
Authorities said no one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, denying reports that one suspect had been arrested and confessed to receiving training from Britain.
But the hardline Siyasat-e Rouz newspaper accused Britain of masterminding the bombings.
“It is clear that Britain is behind the southern Iran bombings,” the daily said in an editorial. “Severing ties is the minimum we can do to prevent Britain’s interference in Iran.”
Many politicians have said the presence of 8,000 British troops in neighboring Iraq was the root cause of this year’s violence in Khuzestan and accused them of training and aiding opposition separatist groups to carry out the attacks.