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Bomb Blasts In Iranian Cities Kill, Injure Scores

Tehran, 12 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- At least nine people were killed and scores injured in a string of blasts in Iran today.

Two small bombs exploded in central Tehran tonight, killing at least one person and injuring four. The Tehran blasts followed a series of four bombings earlier today in Ahvaz, the provincial capital of Iran's southwestern Khuzestan Province, which borders Iraq. At least eight people were killed and more than 70 wounded in those explosions.

Hospital officials in Ahvaz said the casualties included women and children. The attacks come just ahead of the 17 June presidential elections.

Interior Ministry spokesman Amir-Hossein Motahar linked the provincial blasts to ethnic unrest in April in Khuzestan, which is a partly Arab-speaking province.

"The first reports indicate that these bombs were hand made and they were made inside of Iran. These events are probably related to the latest disturbances in Khuzestan Province."

President Mohammad Khatami convened an emergency cabinet meeting tonight to discuss the blasts in Ahvaz and Tehran.

(Reuters/AFP/AP/dpa/Radio Farda)