Iran claims arrest over shrine blast

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The Independent Online
A MAN was arrested in Tehran yesterday in connection with last month's bombing at the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad, north-east Iran, that killed and wounded more than 150 pilgrims. State radio said Mehdi Nahvi tried to escape but was wounded.

Tehran blamed the bombing on the outlawed Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organisation (MKO), based in Baghdad and equipped, financed and supported by Iraq. The organisation rejected the charges. The Mujahedin office in Paris said that Mr Nahvi had never been a member.

The authorities said Mr Nahvi had been denounced by an alleged MKO member arrested five days after the Mashhad bombing while trying to bring an explosive device into a Sunni mosque, with the aim of starting a religious war.

Religious leaders said Iraq was 'behind the whole plot, destined to destabilise the Islamic republic of Iran'. Similar accusations were made against Britain.

Tehran Radio compared the 'deadly silence' of the international press and organisations, 'particularly the UN Security Council', about the Imam Reza bombing 'by the MKO', and the 'deafening noises' concerning the explosions at a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires and the Israeli embassy in London, attacks blamed without any proof on Iran and the Lebanese Hizbollah.

Many Iranians believe the latest bombings and killings could be the result of a conflict within Iranian intelligence and a war by proxy between the Khamenei- controlled Interior and Rafsanjani-dominated Information ministers.