Iranian intelligence has arrested the head of a “terrorist group” based in the United States, according to state media reports. The head of the monarchist organization Tondar, Jamshid Sharmahd, is in “the powerful hands” of the Iranian security forces, the Ministry of Intelligence said on Saturday, according to the state television. Sharmahd is said to be responsible for a fatal bombing in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz in 2008.
Sharmahd “led armed attacks and acts of sabotage in Iran,” it said on state television. When and where Sharmahd was arrested was initially unclear. It was a “complicated operation”, it was said only. The Iranian is said to have lived in the United States.
The Tehran State Department accused the United States of granting Sharmahd exile. Washington supports “well-known terrorists” who “organize armed and sabotage acts against the Iranian people and are responsible for bloodshed in Iran,” the ministry said.
The US State Department said on Sunday night that it had been informed of Sharmahd’s arrest. “The Iranian regime has a long history of detaining Iranians and foreigners on the basis of false accusations,” said a spokesman. He urged Iran to be transparent and to respect international standards.
According to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, Sharmahd is said to have organized the bombing of a mosque in Shiraz on April 12, 2008, in which 14 people were killed and 215 others injured. In connection with the attack, three men were sentenced to death in 2009, who are said to have links with the Tondar organization. According to the ministry announcement quoted by state television, the men were supposed to kill a senior Iranian government official on behalf of an Iranian “CIA agent” named Jamshid.
According to the report, the Tondar organization was planning other large-scale attacks, which had failed. Among other things, the group had planned to blow up a dam in Shiraz and attack a book fair in Tehran with “cyanide bombs”.
In 2010, two other men sentenced as Tondar members were hanged in Iran, who, according to official sources, “confessed to providing explosives and planning to assassinate government officials.”
The organization Tondar (German: Donner), also known as the “Kingdom Assembly of Iran”, rejects the political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and advocates the reintroduction of a monarchy in the country. According to the organization’s website, Scharmahd was born in Tehran in 1955 and grew up in a German-Iranian family before emigrating to the United States in 2003.