Explosion kills 15 in Iranian mosque
TEHRAN - An explosion in a mosque killed 15 people and wounded 80 yesterday in southeast Iran near the volatile Pakistani border, the state news agency said.
Iranian officials were investigating the cause of the explosion in the city of Zahedan, some 1,000 miles southeast of the capital, Tehran, said the Islamic Republic News Agency.
Ali Mohammad Azad, the governor of Sistan-Baluchistan province where Zahedan is the capital, confirmed the death toll in an interview with IRNA and said the explosion happened at 7:45 p.m. He said a terrorist was involved in the explosion.
The state news agency report quoted an unnamed official as saying part of the mosque was destroyed, and rescue teams were transferring the bodies of the dead and injured. It said no group had taken responsibility for the explosion.
Alaeddin Mazari, a local journalist in Zahedan, told The Associated Press that the explosion occurred in a the second biggest Shiite Muslim mosque in the city.
The majority of Iran's population is Shi'ite, but Sunnis also live in southeast Iran, a region near the Afghan and Pakistani borders that is plagued by lawlessness. It is a key crossing point for narcotics and often witnesses clashes between Iranian police and drug smugglers.
Iran hanged three men last month for their involvement in a bombing inside a Shi'ite mosque in April 2008 that killed 14 people in the southern city of Shiraz.