Speaking to the Iranian Student's News Agency on Monday, Interior Minister Abd al-Wahid Musavi-Lari said President Mohammad Khatami had urged the security services to find "the authors of these crimes".

At least eight people were killed on Sunday and 75 wounded in four blasts in Ahwaz, an ethnic Arab-majority city close to the Iraqi border, while two more died in an evening blast that hit a busy square in Tehran.

The Islamic republic goes to the polls on Friday to elect a successor to Khatami.

"The dirty hands of the opponents of the regime and the enemies of the people have struck once again to prevent people from turning out en masse in the elections," the ministry added.

Stark warning

Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi also spelled out what fate awaited those behind the attacks.

He blamed "terrorists" and Arab separatists, sheltered by US troops in neighbouring Iraq, for the bombings in Ahwaz.

"Those who planted the bombs are the enemies of God and they will be executed when they are captured," he said.

"The police, the intelligence ministry and the courts will lead an inquiry, and we hope to identify and arrest the criminals soon."