Iranians claim innocence in Thai bombing plot

Iranians claim innocence in Thai bombing plot

Investigators believe Saeid Moradi and Mohammad Kharzei planned to attack Israeli diplomats

Iranian bombing suspect Mohammad Kharzei gestures upon arriving at the South Criminal Court in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday. (photo credit: AP/Sakchai Lalit)
Iranian bombing suspect Mohammad Kharzei gestures upon arriving at the South Criminal Court in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday. (photo credit: AP/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK (AP) — Two Iranian men arrested last year after a botched terror plot in Bangkok that allegedly targeted Israeli diplomats proclaimed their innocence Friday, saying they were unaware of the stash of homemade bombs found in the house they were staying in.

Their lawyer had given similar accounts earlier, but their testimony Friday was the first in their own words since hearings began last year.

Friday’s hearing came more than a year after explosives blew apart their home in a residential Bangkok neighborhood on Valentine’s Day last year. The explosion uncovered a plot that Thai authorities say was aimed at Israeli envoys and that Israel says was part of an Iranian-backed network of terror.

One of the two Iranians, Saeid Moradi, said Friday that he found two radio bombs in the cabinet of the home, which he said he slept in for just one night. He said he didn’t know where the bombs came from and that he immediately tried to take them outside to dispose of them.

Saeid Moradi, an Iranian suspect bomber, is wheeled into a Bangkok criminal court, Friday. Moradi was wounded with his own bomb after it exploded when he hurled it to a group of chasing Thai police officers in February. (photo credit: AP/Apichart Weerawong)
Saeid Moradi, an Iranian suspected of a bombing plot targeting Israeli diplomats, is wheeled into a Bangkok criminal court in December. (photo credit: AP/Apichart Weerawong)

Moradi, a factory technician from Tehran and a former soldier, dropped one of the bombs in an alley, then encountered two policemen on a nearby street. He said he feared police would try to search him and could detonate the bomb by mistake, so he dropped it and it exploded — blowing off his legs.

“If it was going to explode, at least I would die alone,” Moradi told the court, claiming he dropped the bomb to save lives. “But if it didn’t, I was willing to surrender.”

Another detained Iranian, Mohammad Kharzei, also testified that he knew nothing about the bombs.

If convicted, Moradi and Kharzei could face 27 years in prison on charges of possession of unlawful explosives and causing explosions that damaged property.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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