AFP: Iran’s supreme leader accused Britain Saturday of conspiring to stop the country’s development through sabotage in the southern oil province of Khuzestan, the Tehran-based Arabic satellite news channel Al-Alam reported. TEHRAN, March 25, 2006 (AFP) – Iran’s supreme leader accused Britain Saturday of conspiring to stop the country’s development through sabotage in the southern oil province of Khuzestan, the Tehran-based Arabic satellite news channel Al-Alam reported.
“Enemies of Iran are plotting to stop Iran’s progress. The British forces in southern Iraq are plotting in Khuzestan province,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech to ethnic Arabs and Iranians in Dehlavieh in Khuzestan.
“The British occupation force in neighboring Basra and Ammara (Maysan) provinces in Iraq is extending its plots, as (the British) have shown animosity towards Iran over the past two centuries. But the Iranian people and government, especially the brave people of Khuzestan, will vanquish their conspiracy.”
Khuzestan is home to a large community of ethnic minority Arabs and has been plagued by a wave of bombings over the past year, including car bombings last June and October, another attack in January and smaller attacks in February.
There has been also several explosions and fires hitting oil facilities in the area, which have raised suspicions of sabotage.
Tehran has repeatedly blamed the unrest on London and British troops based just across the border in southern Iraq, but has yet to pass on to Britain the “proof” it says it has.
Britain has dismissed as “completely without foundation” the allegations concerning the unrest. Tehran and London have seen their relations steadily deteriorate in recent years, notably over Iran’s nuclear programme and alleged Iranian meddling in Iraq.