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India’s Blast Inquiry Tests Ties to Israel and Iran (NY) TIMES) By JIM YARDLEY NEW DELHI, India 03/17/12)Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/world/asia/indian-police-issue-warrants-for-iranian-citizens-in-bombing.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=Israel&st=cse NEW YORK TIMES NEW YORK TIMES Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
NEW DELHI — The Indian warrants issued this week for three Iranian citizens in connection with an attack last month in which assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to the back of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle here, coupled with new accusations about the bombing, seem certain to worsen the deepening crisis between Israel and Iran.

At a Friday news conference, B. K. Gupta, the Delhi police commissioner, described a plot in which the authorities accused an Indian freelance journalist, Sayed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, of providing logistical support for the Feb. 13 blast, which injured the wife of an Israeli diplomat and three others.

The police say that Mr. Kazmi, who was arrested last week, visited Iran twice last year and was later involved on reconnaissance trips to the Israeli Embassy here.

“He has been arrested as a facilitator and for being a part of the conspiracy,” according to a statement issued by the Delhi police after the news conference.

Mr. Kazmi’s family has flatly rejected the charges against him and accused the police of falsely implicating him because of his work as a journalist, in which he wrote about the mistreatment of Muslims in India.

On Friday afternoon, more than 100 people gathered in New Delhi for a protest rally and demanded that the police release Mr. Kazmi. His son, Shauzab Kazmi, 22, called the charges “completely baseless.”

Israel has accused the Iranian government of carrying out the New Delhi bombing, as well as an attempted attack in Georgia and a blast in Thailand. The attack in New Delhi took place a short distance from the residence of India’s prime minister. The Israeli diplomat’s wife had been en route to the American Embassy School to pick up her children when the bomb was placed on her car.

Iran has denied any involvement. Friday’s statement from the Delhi police did not specify whether the three Iranians accused in the New Delhi bombing had any connection to the Iranian government. But the police did say that one of them had been “in touch” with a suspect in the Thai blast.

The case has placed the Indian government in a delicate position, because it wants to maintain ties with Israel and Iran. Israel is a major supplier of military hardware; Iran is a major supplier of oil. Indian leaders have so far refrained from taking sides, saying they would await the findings of the investigation by the Indian police.

On Friday, the Indian police noted that two Iranians, Moradi Saeid and Mohammed Khazaei, had been arrested in Bangkok in connection with the Thai blast, while a third, Sedaghatzadeh Masoud, now living in Malaysia, was implicated on Thursday. Mr. Masoud denied any involvement in the attack, news reports said.

The Indian police have identified the three Iranians implicated in the New Delhi bombing as Houshang Afshar Irani, Seyed Ali Mahdiansadr and Mohammadreza Abolghasemi.

The police say that Mr. Kazmi, the Indian journalist, was paid $5,500 and provided assistance to one of the three Iranian suspects, Mr. Irani. The two men traveled by motor scooter on reconnaissance missions to the Israeli Embassy, the police said, adding that the scooter was seized from Mr. Kazmi’s residence. The police also confiscated a vehicle that they say Mr. Kazmi and some Iranian suspects used for reconnaissance.

Officials at the Iranian Embassy here declined to comment on the case. Mr. Kazmi’s son, though, sharply criticized the police and disputed that the seized scooter and the other vehicle, a car of the Maruti make, represented evidence.

“That scooter was parked at our house for the last two years,” he said. “When police claimed to recover it, it was not in working condition. They had to drag it away.”

He added, “They claim that my father received $5,500, but what is the evidence?”

Hari Kumar contributed reporting. (Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company 03/17/12)


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