Reporting from Beirut — A bombing at a martial parade in western Iran on Wednesday killed at least 12 people, including a 5-year-old and the wives of two Iranian military commanders. The explosion struck amid a large crowd attending the event, which was intended to underscore the nation's battle readiness.
An additional 75 people were injured, at least 12 seriously, in what officials described as a "terrorist attack." No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, which occurred in the restive ethnic Kurdish city of Mahabad about 40 miles east of the border with Iraq.
Iranian officials quickly pointed to the United States, and the local Friday prayer leader blamed "Zionists."
"As the investigations indicate, the attack has foreign backing," Gov. Vahid Jalalzadeh of West Azerbaijan province, where Mahabad is located, told state television. "Unfortunately, the Americans and their allies are in the region. From the first day of their presence and their slogan to establish security in the region, we can see that the unrest has increased."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in turn condemned the bombing.
"The perpetrators of this attack should be brought to justice and held accountable," she said in a statement. "The United States condemns terrorism and all forms of violence against innocent people, wherever it occurs, and stands with the victims of these crimes."