Iran arrests eight suspected terrorists

Iran says it arrested eight Sunni Islamists suspected of planning attacks during celebrations of the Islamic revolution.

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Ben Ariel,

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Iranian security forces arrested eight Sunni Islamists suspected of planning attacks to disrupt celebrations for Iran's Islamic revolution in the past week, the country’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Alavi said the eight were "Takfiri" foreigners, a word used by Iran to refer to hardline, armed, Sunni Islamist groups. He did not give details of which countries they were from.

"Initial information indicates that Kalashnikovs and other equipment were obtained to carry out terrorist operations ... in Tehran and several other cities under the direct guidance of persons based in neighboring countries," Alavi was quoted by the state news agency IRNA as saying.

The announcement came a day after Iran's prosecutor-general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, said security forces had smashed a cell linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group near Tehran.

The cell allegedly wanted to "sabotage" rallies on Friday marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.

Last July, Iran claimed that a team of ISIS-linked jihadists were paid 600,000 euros to carry out a bombing campaign at 50 locations in Tehran and other big cities in the country.

Two weeks earlier, Iranian intelligence authorities said they had foiled a large-scale terrorist attack, arresting 10 suspected terrorists, and had seized about 100 kilograms of explosive material that was to be used in car bombs, and suicide and other bomb attacks in busy public places.

In May, Iranian security forces announced they had arrested a dozen ISIS fighters in the east and west of the country and also more than 50 sympathizers who were promoting the group's ideology on the internet.