Iran says it has arrested the leader of a US-based “terrorist group” accused of bombing a mosque in 2008 in the Iranian city of Shiraz, an attack that killed 14 people and wounded hundreds.
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said in a statement that they arrested the group’s leader Jamshid Sharmahd in a “complicated operation” and said he was now in the “powerful hands” of Iranian security forces. Few details of the operation that led to the arrest were given, and Iran’s PressTV said further details of the arrest would be announced later.
Sharmahd leads the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, also known as Tondar, which means “thunder” in Farsi. Tondar is a Los Angeles-based group of Iranian exiles who seek to reinstate the Iranian monarchy that ended in 1979 when the US-backed Shah fled Iran, and the Islamic regime came to power.
After the 2008 mosque bombing in Shiraz, the Kingdom Assembly of Iran took credit for the attack. Iran hanged three men in 2009 who were convicted of the 2008 mosque bombing and had ties to the group. Iran hanged two more men linked to the group in 2010 who had confessed to plotting assassinations of Iranian officials.
Besides linking Sharmahd and Tondar to the 2008 bombing, Tehran accused the group of being behind other minor attacks. Sharmahd is also accused of actively plotting attacks inside Iran.