Iran claims arrest of Tondar ringleader who directed 2008 attack

Iranian ministry claims arrest of Jamshid Sharmahd, says he directed 2008 Shiraz attack and plotted other attacks.

Tags: Iran
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran on Saturday said its intelligence services detained a US-based leader of a pro-monarchist group, who is accused of being behind a 2008 bombing, Reuters reported.

State television, quoting an Intelligence Ministry statement, said that "Jamshid Sharmahd, the ringleader of the terrorist Tondar (Thunder) group, who directed armed and terrorist acts in Iran from America, was arrested following a complicated operation, and is now in [our agents'] powerful hands."

The Ministry also said that Sharmahd planned and directed a 2008 attack in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, killing 14 people and wounding another 215. Another plot by Sharmahd had included blowing up the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but this was aborted thanks to Iranian intelligence, the statement added.

Reuters noted that television also showed a video of a man identifying himself as Sharmahd and providing his date of birth, and then saying, blindfolded, that "they needed explosives and we provided it."

On its site, Tondar wrote that it did not confirm "stories being told by various networks." However, in an earlier update on social media, the group had promised that it "will continue to fight even in the absence of a commander."

Iran has accused Sharmahd, who is Iranian-German and lived in Germany before moving to the US, of plotting other attacks in addition to the deadly 2008 bombing.

Tondar, which runs pro-Iranian opposition radio and TV stations abroad, has said it seeks to restore the Iranian monarchy.

The US State Department and the German Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.