TEHRAN (Dispatches) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif has called on the West to stop financing and harboring terrorist groups which continue to murder innocent civilians and shamelessly claim responsibility for it.
"The West must cease financing and harboring terrorists. From their safe havens in U.S. and Europe, they promote hatred, agitate & organize murder & mayhem, and shamelessly claim responsibility for the murder of innocent Iranian civilians. Smokescreens can’t obscure this hypocrisy,” Zarif tweeted late Saturday.
The tweet came after Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said in a statement that it had arrested the ringleader of a terrorist group based in the United States.
The ministry said it had dealt a heavy blow to the Tondar group that planned and carried out a deadly terrorist attack on a mosque in the southern city of Shiraz in 2008, martyring 14 people and wounding 215 others.
The terrorist group, it said, had also planned to carry out other operations, like blowing up Sivand Dam in Shiraz, the mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini in southern Tehran, and Tehran International Book Fair, but their plots were all foiled.
The Intelligence Ministry said further details of the "complicated and successful” operation leading to Jamshid Sharmahd’s arrest will be announced later.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Saturday the U.S. regime must be held accountable for supporting Tondar and other terrorist outfits as well as the criminals who direct sabotage and other operations from inside the United States against the Iranian people.
Mousavi questioned the U.S. claim of standing with the Iranian people while supporting terrorists who target the nation in various ways.
"The U.S. regime considers itself to be standing with the Iranian people while it harbors and supports in different ways the known terrorists and those have claimed responsibility for several terrorist operations inside Iran and who have the blood of innocent Iranian people and citizens on their hands,” he said.
Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also said intelligence work by Iran’s security forces dealt the final blow to the terrorist group at the right time.
The U.S. and the Zionist regime are wrong to think that the ringleader of the Tondar group could be the source of action against Iran, he said.
Alavi said the operation that led to the arrest of the Tondar ringleader was not the ministry’s first complicated operation in dealing with opponents of the Islamic establishment, adding that
the ministry has already carried out several similar operations in the past.
"People like Sharmahd make a mistake to rely on the U.S. and the Zionist regime as these two support them as long as they serve their interests,” the Iranian intelligence minister said.
Iran, he said, had previously informed Interpol of Sharmahd’s criminal acts in Shiraz but had seen the international police refuse to arrest him while he traveled around the world before their eyes.
"Although Interpol was tasked with arresting him, no action was taken against him, which shows the West’s slogan of fighting terrorism is hollow,” Alavi added.