Aug 03, 2020 06:35 UTC
  • Iran Intelligence Ministry rejects reports on US-based group ringleader’s overseas arrest

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, which recently announced the apprehension of the ringleader of a US-based anti-Iran terrorist group, has rejected reports alleging that the person in question was actually nabbed in Tajikistan.

The reports “are roundly rejected,” the Ministry said in a statement that was cited by Tasnim news agency on Sunday.

Statements released by the Ministry’s Public Relations Office are the ultimate source of any official information detailing the operations that are carried out by the Ministry’s operatives, the statement asserted.

The Ministry announced arresting Jamshid Sharmahd, the ringleader of the Tondar (Thunder) outfit, otherwise known as the so-called “Kingdom Assembly of Iran,” on Saturday, notifying that he had directed "armed operations and acts of sabotage" inside Iran from the US in the past.

Upon arrest, Sharmahd admitted to providing explosives for a 2008 attack in southern Iran that martyred 14 people.

“I was called before the bomb was about to be set off,” he was seen confessing in footage provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network later in the day. 

The attack that targeted the Seyyed al-Shohada Mosque in the city of Shiraz also wounded 215 others.

According to the Ministry, the group had planned to carry out several high-profile and potentially hugely-deadly attacks across the Islamic Republic, but had been frustrated in the attempts owing to intricate intelligence operations targeting the outfit. These included blowing up of Sivand Damn in Shiraz, detonating cyanide-laden bombs at Tehran International Book Fair, and carrying out explosions during mass gatherings at the Mausoleum of the late Founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini (God's mercy upon him).

Details of the arrest

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, meanwhile, congratulated the Ministry’s operatives on their success in arresting the terrorist ringleader, detailing the circumstances that surrounded the operation.

Sharmahd enjoyed “serious support” from the American and Israeli intelligence services, which “considered it to be far-fetched for the Iranian Intelligence Ministry to be able to penetrate their intelligence cover and put him under its command through an intricate operation,” the minister said.

The Americans still believe that pictures showing Sharmahd in Iran after his arrest have been snapped outside the Islamic Republic, he added, saying, “They will found out about everything [concerning the operation] in near future.”

Alavi differentiated between Sharmahd’s outfit and other so-called royalist groups, which mostly resort to rhetoric and statements to try to establish themselves.

Tondar “was the only movement that was very violent and was after establishing itself through terrorist operation,” the minister noted.

‘Iran neutralized 27 ops by Tondar’

Alavi noted that the Ministry had succeeded in frustrating 27 operations by Sharmahd and his group.

The minister again highly rated the arrest operation, recalling previous remarks by Sharmahd, in which he had considered himself to be comfortably nested within the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“He considered his place to be lying on the sixth floor of the FBI ['s building],” and now sees himself in the grips of Iranian intelligence operatives, Alavi said.

Following the terrorist attack in Iran, the Islamic Republic notified the Interpol of Sharmahd’s identity and demanded his arrest. However, he would still travel freely between countries with his real identity.

Alavi said the inaction despite Tehran’s complaint “indicates the hollowness of the Americans and their European allies’ claim of fighting terrorism.”

The minister finally hailed that the arrest “has not been and will not be” the first such complicated operation to be aced by Iranian intelligence operatives, asserting that “they have carried out such arrests in the past, the due time for explaining which has not yet arrived.”

ME

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