This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry says it has tracked down and dismantled two “terrorist cells” in the Western part of the country.
The ministry said in a statement issued late on May 6 and quoted by Iranian news agencies that the terrorists affiliated with “separatist groups” had entered Iran from neighboring areas to carry out acts of terror and sabotage.
It said its forces arrested 16 members of the groups and confiscated their arms, including two AK-47 rifles, as well as some ammunition.
“The ringleader of this terrorist group is residing in Europe and being supported by a certain Arab country,” the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted the ministry as saying.
The claims could not be verified independently.
Iranian media said some of those arrested had been involved in killing civilians and extortion from manufacturers and traders in the west of the country.
“One of the terrorist teams had [killed] the child of a supporter of the [clerical] establishment,” the reports said without providing more details.
Earlier this week, Iranian media reported that three members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), including a colonel, were killed in a shoot-out with unknown gunmen near the country’s Western border with Iraq.
The reports said “several counterrevolutionaries” were also killed in the fighting near the Kurdish town of Divandarreh, about 60 kilometers from the Iraqi border.
No details were given on the affiliation of the gunmen.
The area has seen occasional fighting between Iranian forces and Kurdish separatists, as well as militants linked to the Islamic State extremist group.