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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:39, June 13, 2005
Bombs aimed at state buildings kill 5, injure 89 in Iran
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Four bomb blasts killed at least five people and wounded 89 in a southwestern oil town in Iran Sunday, five days before the nation's presidential election.

The bombs were aimed at state buildings in Ahvaz, capital of the partly Arabic-speaking province of Khuzestan.

Gholamreza Shariati, deputy governor of Khuzestan, said women and children were among the casualties of the morning bombings spread over two hours.

The bombs targeted the governor's office in the town, 550 kilometres southwest of Tehran, as well as two local government departments and a housing complex for state media employees.

A pool of blood stained the floor of a waiting room at the governor's office, where the explosion had wrecked ceilings, broken windows and destroyed a car outside, TV footage showed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. The Popular Democratic Front of Ahvaz, which is campaigning for an independent Khuzestan, denied responsibility.

Shariati said the bombings were aimed at disrupting the election, in which opinion polls tip Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will regain the post as president he held from 1989-97.

"Those behind the blasts want to endanger the country's sovereignty ahead of the elections," Shariati told state television.

"They want to harm the system, but the people's desire to vote will become stronger in such conditions."

Presidential elections

A poll for the IRNA news agency showed that Rafsanjani and former Higher Education Minister Mostafa Moin are leading in run-up to the presidential elections, IRNA reported on Saturday.

The poll showed that 27.1 per cent of 45,834 eligible participants said they would vote for Rafsanjani while 18. 9 per cent backed Moin.

Iran's ninth presidential elections will be held on June 17. Incumbent President Mohammad Khatami is ruled out from the race because the law bans anyone from seeking a consecutive third term.

In another development, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani said on Saturday that the UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Rowhani's comments came one day after a western diplomat said that IAEA inspectors examined Iran's uranium enrichment facilities in the central city of Natanz on Thursday and proved that Iran had frozen all sensitive activities there as it had pledged.

Source: Xinhua/agencies

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