Iran announced on Saturday that it had arrested the head of a US-based “terrorist group” and accused of perpetrating an attempted murderer in a mosque in the south of the country in 2008.
“Jamshid Sharmahd, leader of the Tondar terrorist group in the United States […], is now in the hands ”of Iranian intelligence services, boasted the Intelligence Ministry in a statement quoted by state television.
He did not communicate the details of the arrest or say where it took place, but referred to “a complicated operation”.
Iran has attacked US authorities for hosting Jamshid Sharmahd, who usually resides in the United States, accusing them of “supporting known terrorists who have claimed responsibility for several terrorist acts inside the territory. Iranian. “
14 dead in the 2008 attack
“This diet (Editor’s note: the United States) must answer for its support for this terrorist group and other groups […] who orchestrate armed and sabotage operations against the Iranian people from America and shed Iranian blood, ”the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The US State Department reacted during the night from Saturday to Sunday: “We have learned of information relating to the detention of Mr. Sharmahd. The Iranian regime has a long history of detaining Iranians and foreign nationals on false charges. We urge Iran to the fullest transparency and to respect all international legal standards ”.
Overthrow the government
Jamshid Sharmahd organized an attack in 2008 on a mosque in Shiraz, killing 14 and injuring some 200, according to the intelligence ministry.
The goal of his organization called Tondar (thunder in Persian) is to overthrow the current power in this Islamic country. The group advocates violence and openly criticizes the Koran.
The Iranian authorities executed in 2009 three men convicted of the Shiraz attack, claiming that they had links with the Tondar group and that they had taken their orders “from an Iranian agent of the CIA” installed in the States -United. Their aim was to assassinate a senior official in Iran, according to Iranian authorities.
Several members arrested and executed
In 2010, two other alleged members of the group, Mohammad Reza Ali Zammani and Arash Rahmanipour, who according to Tehran “confessed to having wanted to assassinate those responsible”, were hanged.
According to the Intelligence Ministry’s statement on Saturday, Tondar was planning to carry out several operations, such as detonating the Sivand dam in Shiraz or the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, in Tehran. But they failed, he said without further clarification.
According to Tondar’s website, Jamshid Sharmahd, born in Tehran in 1955, grew up in an Iranian-German family before moving to the United States in 2003.
In October, Iran announced the detention of another opponent once exiled in France, Rouhollah Zam, again without giving details of the circumstances or the place of his arrest. Accused of having played an active role in the demonstrations against Iranian power in 2017-2018, Rouhollah Zam was sentenced to death at the end of June for “corruption on earth”, one of the most serious charges provided for by the Iranian penal code .
Long-time enemies, Iran and the United States have not maintained diplomatic relations since 1980. Tensions have further increased after Donald Trump’s administration withdrew from the international Iran nuclear agreement in 2018 and the reinstatement of US sanctions against Tehran.