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Blast In Iran City Kills 12; 'Antirevolutionaries' Blamed


A screen grab from Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam TV shows shoes and bloodstains at the site of a bomb that tore through an Iranian military parade in Mahabad on September 22.
Reports from Iran say a bomb explosion during a military parade in a northwestern city has killed 12 people.

The blast occurred during an annual parade to mark the Iran-Iraq War in Mahabad, a city with a predominantly Kurdish population in West Azerbaijan Province, which borders Iraq and Turkey.

State-run English-language Press TV said around 20 people were wounded in the attack.

"Local officials say all of those wounded are women and children and have blamed antirevolution elements for the attack," the newsreader said. "No group or person has claimed responsibility for the bombing yet."

The provincial governor of Iran's West Azerbaijan province, Vahid Jalalzadeh, said the wives of two senior military commanders of Mahabad were among those killed.

Jalalzadeh also told the semiofficial Mehr news agency that four of the injured were in critical condition.

He said the bomb exploded 50 meters from the parade stand and that "counterrevolutionary groups," by conducting such an attack, showed their "heinous faith."

Western Iran has a sizable Kurdish population and has seen deadly clashes in recent years between the Iranian security forces and Kurdish rebel groups, mainly the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).

The PJAK, a militant Kurdish nationalist group based in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq, says it is fighting for greater rights in Iran.

Kurdish political activists have been arrested, tried, and executed in recent months.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today condemned the bombing, saying the attack underscores the need for a global commitment to "combat terrorism."

On Military Anniversary

Today's attack took place as Iran marked the 30th anniversary of the start of the eight-year Iran-Iraq War with a series of military parades across the country.

At a parade in the capital, Tehran, Iran's Sejil, Shahab-3, and Ghadr-1 missiles were showcased.

Iran also showed off five of its unmanned Karar bomber drones, a "Blue Beret" unit of 180 men, and several armored personnel-carriers emblazoned with UN insignia.

Iran's army chief, Ataollah Salehi, said Iran has been "ready for several years to provide a group of peacekeeping soldiers to the United Nations."

He told reporters that Iranian peacekeepers have already been "involved in several places such as Somalia and Eritrea," without elaborating.

Under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, Iraq attacked neighboring Iran on September 22, 1980, starting an eight year war during which an estimated 1 million people were killed on both sides.

compiled from agency reports