Iran denies link with Bangkok blasts, accuses Israel

AFP , Wednesday 15 Feb 2012

Iran accuses 'Zionist regime' of Bangkok blast, says will cooperate with Thai authorities

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Mohammad Hazaei, sits behind Thai immigration police sign after arrest at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok 14 January, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Iran has denied any link with explosions in Bangkok and accused "elements linked with the Zionist regime" of being responsible, as reported by Iranian state TV's website. 

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast rejected "the accusations by the Zionist regime of implication (of Iran)", on Wednesday, accusing Israel of "trying to harm the friendly and historic relations between Iran and Thailand."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that elements of the Zionist regime are responsible for this crime and is prepared to help and cooperate with the Thai government to shed all light on these events," he added.

Mehmanparast noted that Israel's accusation followed US allegations last October of a Tehran-hatched plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, and Israeli claims Tehran was behind bomb attempts against Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia on Monday.

He termed both those other accusations "baseless."

Thai authorities were holding two Iranians in connection with a series of explosions in Bangkok on Tuesday.

One of the men, named as 28-year-old Saeid Morati according to a passport found in his possession, lost both his legs when he tried to hurl an explosive device at Thai police while fleeing an earlier blast at a house in Bangkok.

The other Iranian was detained as he tried to board a flight out of Thailand.

A third suspect was believed to have fled to Malaysia.

Israel saw the detention of the Iranian nationals as proof the Iranian government was involved.

"The attempted attack in Bangkok proves once again that Iran and its proxies are continuing to act in the ways of terror and the latest attacks are an example of that," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said.

Israel blamed Iran for an attempt on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi, who was critically wounded along with her Indian driver when a motorbike assailant attached a bomb to her car on Monday. It also said a thwarted, similar attempt to blow up an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in Georgia had Iran's fingerprints on it.

Iran denied any connection to those attacks.

Iranian Defence minister Ahmad Vahid, speaking at a commemoration for two killed Iranian scientists, said many people and groups hated Israel.

"The incidents at the embassies of the Zionist regime in India and Georgia show that the Zionist regime has committed so much oppression and tyranny that it is not unlikely that some groups and people in all countries would somehow show their disgust at the regime," he was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

Observers, however, noted that the use of motorbike assassins to blow up targets' cars closely mirrored the method used to murder nuclear scientists in Iran in the past two years—attacks Tehran has blamed on Tel Aviv—raising the possibility of Iranian payback and a vicious covert war between the Middle East foes.

A senior Thai intelligence official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the three Iranian suspects linked to the Bangkok blasts were "an assassination team and their targets were Israeli diplomats including the ambassador."

He added: "Their plan was to attach bombs to diplomats' cars."

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