Iranian intelligence officials have broken up “the biggest terrorist plot” ever planned to target Tehran and other provinces in the Islamic Republic, the country’s state TV reported yesterday.
An anchor on state TV read off a statement attributing the information to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.
Officials could not be immediately reached for comment to elaborate.
Several suspects have been arrested and are under interrogation over the plot after agents seized ammunition and bombs, state TV said.
The semi-official Fars and ISNA news agencies quoted Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani as saying the attack was timed to hit during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, citing the ministry, said the attack was supposed to come on the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Mohammed’s wife Khadija, which was commemorated in small ceremonies across Iran on Thursday last week.
The report did not identify those arrested, although it called them takfiris, a derogatory term in both Arabic and Farsi referring to Muslims who accuse others of being “nonbelievers.”
Iranian authorities often refer to followers of the Sunni militant Islamic State group as takfiris, although it is not clear if this case involved the extremist group that holds territory in Iraq and Syria.
Shiite power Iran has been helping both the Syrian and the Iraqi governments in their battles against the Islamic State. It has warned of possible militant attacks targeting the country, which largely has not seen such attacks since the immediate aftermath of its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
However, IRNA called those involved in the plot Wahhabi takfiris.
Wahhabism is an ultraconservative school of Islam practiced predominantly in Saudi Arabia.
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have frayed following the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric in January and subsequent attacks by protesters on Saudi Arabian diplomatic posts in Iran.
The kingdom cut diplomatic relations with Tehran following those attacks.
Iran recently announced it would not be sending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj, as it said the kingdom did not meet Iran’s requests for better security for Iranian pilgrims.
The hajj is required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their lifetime.
Last Month, Iranian Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi announced that 20 “terrorist groups” that planned to detonate bombs and cause insecurity across the country had been dismantled.
It was unclear whether that included the plot announced by state TV yesterday.
Iran faces threats from several militant groups. Last week, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps battled armed members of an insurgent Kurdish group in the country’s West Azerbaijan Province near its border with Iraq and Turkey.
Both sides gave conflicting death tolls from the fighting, as the guard said its forces killed 12 insurgents, while three of its own died.
The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan said Kurds killed more than 12 guard members, including a colonel.
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