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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 10:57 GMT
Iranians hang two Ahwaz bombers
The two executed bombers appeared on Iranian TV confessing to the attacks
The executed bombers appeared on TV confessing to the attacks
Two men found guilty of bomb attacks in the south-western Iranian city of Ahwaz in 2005 have been publicly hanged, at the place where the bombings occurred.

Local news agencies said onlookers shouted anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans as the two men were executed.

Six people were killed and many more injured in the bombings, which some Iranian officials have blamed on UK forces stationed in southern Iraq.

Britain has strongly denied any involvement in the bombings.

The New-York-based group Human Rights Watch said earlier this week that the number of executions being carried out in Iran has risen dramatically since the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year.

Confessions

On the eve of their execution, the bombers were shown confessing on provincial television, the BBC's Frances Harrison reports from Tehran.

One of those now executed, Ali Afravi, said he had contacted Arab separatist groups based in Canada and Britain after reading their websites.

He said these groups asked him to create insecurity inside Iran.

In total, nine men were shown on TV making confessions that were heavily edited. It is not clear what will happen to the rest who were tried and convicted behind closed doors.

The attacks were part of a series of bombings in the city of Ahwaz, in Khuzestan province, following unrest a year ago in which ethnic Arabs protested against alleged discrimination by the Persian majority.

Khuzestan television showed footage of the bombings that indicated the damage was far more extensive than reported at the time.

Although several Iranian officials have blamed the bombings on British forces stationed just across the Iran-Iraq border, the televised confessions made no reference to such allegations.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the bombers confessions shown on Iranian television



SEE ALSO:
Britain denies Iran bomb claims
16 Oct 05 |  Middle East
'Unrest' in Iran Arabic province
05 Nov 05 |  Middle East
Iran clamps down on Arab protests
27 Jul 05 |  Middle East
Iran bans al-Jazeera after riots
19 Apr 05 |  Middle East
Hundreds arrested in Iran clashes
18 Apr 05 |  Middle East
Country profile: Iran
31 Mar 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Iran
14 Apr 05 |  Country profiles


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