Iraq accuses Iran after six die in mortar attack

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The Independent Online

Tension between Iraq and Iran grew after six people died and 30 were wounded in a mortar attack on a residential building in Baghdad which Iraq said was masterminded by Tehran.

Tension between Iraq and Iran grew after six people died and 30 were wounded in a mortar attack on a residential building in Baghdad which Iraq said was masterminded by Tehran.

The attack, on Tuesday, appears to be a reprisal for a similar assault 10 days ago in Tehran by the Mujahedeen Khalq, the Iranian opposition group based in Baghdad.

Though the hostilities stem from the entrenched enmity of the Gulf region's two most bitter rivals, who fought an inconclusive war 1980-1988, President Saddam Hussein's propagandists are also linking them to the US. Baghdad's suspicions have only been increased by Washington's overtures to Tehran, aimed at bolstering the moderates and including a partial lifting of the US trade embargo.

Baghdad sees this as another US ploy to increase its isolation and thus step up pressure to accept new UN weapons inspections as the price for lifting sanctions. This week an Iraqi paper said Washington's moves would only encourage Iran "to expand its aggression against Iraq".

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