Iran Denies Bahrain Terror Cell Ties
Iran has rejected claims a terrorist cell busted by Qatar and Bahrain had links with the Revolutionary Guards or the Basij paramilitary militia.
The denial comes on the heels of a report saying Qatari authorities had arrested four Bahrainis on Friday whom they say were planning to attack high-profile targets in Bahrain.
The targets reportedly included the interior ministry building, the Saudi embassy, and the King Fahd causeway - the 25-kilometer long terrestrial link between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Four members of the cell were arrested by Qatar as they were attempting to enter the Gulf country from neighboring Saudi Arabia. The Qataris said that a search of the car yielded documents and a laptop carrying sensitive information, bookings to Syria, and cash in US and Iranian currency.
The four suspects, handed over to Manama on November 4, gave the name of an alleged accomplice who was arrested in Bahrain. A fifth member was later arrested in Bahrain.
"The plot was being implemented and members were being sent to Iran to receive military training," Qatari prosecutors said. "One member travelled to Iran where he was trained in the use of weapons and explosives and he received cash to fund the group."
"Those who were arrested were on their way to Iran," prosecutors added.
However, Hussain Amir Abdullahian, Iran's deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs, dismissed the reports on ties and contacts between Tehran and the terrorists.
The reports are "a repetition of the scenario which was originally staged against Tehran by the US last month," in a reference to US authorities indicting two members of Iran's foreign covert Quds force in connection with a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington.
"The scenario is this time raised through a Bahraini method," Abdullahian told Iran's semi-official Fars news agency on Monday.
Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Gulf allies have long-accused Iran of sowing unrest in their countries through resident Shiite populations. Both Kuwait and Bahrain have broken up Iranian intelligence networks since the Arab Spring erupted.
Bahrain has accused Tehran of viewing it as the "crown jewel" of its struggle with Riyadh to dominate the Persian Gulf.