The Iranian Intelligence Ministry says it has arrested the ringleader of an anti-Iran terrorist group based in the United States.
Iranian security forces have managed to arrest the head of the terrorist group, Jamshid Sharmahd, who directed "armed operations and acts of sabotage" in Iran from the US, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Following a complicated operation, the ringleader of the group, named Tondar (Thunder), was arrested and he is "now in the powerful hands" of Iranian security forces, it added.
The ministry said it has dealt a heavy blow to the Tondar group that planned and carried out a deadly terrorist attack on Seyyed al-Shohada mosque in the southern city of Shiraz, Fars Province, in 2008, which killed 14 people and wounded 215 others.
It noted that the terrorist group had also planned to carry out other large-scale operations, like blowing up several places, including Sivand Dam in Shiraz, Mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini in southern Tehran, and Tehran International Book Fair, which were all foiled.
The ministry emphasized that further details of the "complicated and successful" operation leading to Sharmahd's arrest would be announced later.
US regime must be held liable for supporting terrorists: Foreign ministry
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Saturday that the US regime must be held accountable for "supporting this terrorist grouplet (Tondar) and other [terrorist] outfits as well as criminals that lead sabotage, armed and terrorist operations from within the United States against the Iranian people" and shed the blood of Iranians.
Mousavi hailed the "decisive move" by Iranian security forces to arrest the ringleader of the Tonadr terrorist group and questioned the US claim of standing by the Iranian people while supporting terrorists targeting the nation through different ways.
"The US regime considers itself to be standing by the Iranian people while it harbors and supports in different ways the known terrorists and those have claimed responsibility for several terrorist operations inside Iran and who have the blood of innocent Iranian people and citizens on their hands," he added.
Security forces' intelligence surveillance dealt final blow to Tondar: Minister
Meanwhile, Iran's Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said security forces' intelligence surveillance dealt the final blow to the terrorist group at the proper time.
He added that the US and the Zionist regime were wrong to think that the ringleader of the Tondar group could be the source of action against Iran.
He noted that the operation that led to the arrest of the Tondar group ringleader was not the ministry's first complicated operation in dealing with opponents of the Islamic establishment, adding that the ministry has already carried out several similar measures in the past.
"People like Sharmahd make a mistake to rely on the US and the Zionist regime as these two support them as long as they serve their interests," the Iranian intelligence minister said.
He noted that Iran has previously informed Interpol of Sharmahd's criminal acts in Shiraz but he was not arrested.
"Although Interpol was tasked with arresting him, no action was taken against him, which shows the West's empty slogan of fighting terrorism," he pointed out.