Iranian authorities say they have arrested an Islamic State (IS) linked terror cell in the Western region of Kermanshah one day before the arrival of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard announced today that a terrorist cell has been disrupted near the country's border with Iraq.
On Saturday (21 November) Tehran said that they busted two other terror cells in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, which borders Pakistan. The terrorists were said to have 10 bombs and over 150 kilograms of explosives when arrested with a further terrorist cell unearthed in the West Azerbaijan Province.
Iran is the major Shiite force in the region and Tehran has been involved in conflicts in both Syria and Iraq against IS. Some Sunni Muslims denounce the Shiite sect as apostates – IS is a predominantly Sunni-founded organisation.
The raids come on the eve of a visit to Tehran by Russian President Vladimir Putin with the IS problem set to dominate talks. The US and Iran have agreed that IS should be routed in the past.
General Mohammad Ali Jafari, provided no details of the how many people were arrested in Kermanshah or the exact locations of the arrests. He said: "ISIS has multi-layered support networks. One such network was identified in Kermanshah province (in western Iran) and its members were arrested," according to Al Arabiya.
He added that security forces were monitoring attempts by militants to "create insecurity" saying: "The rest of the groups are also on our intelligence radar and they will be dealt with as necessary."
General Jafari also said that the groups would have struggled to perform a mass attack like the atrocities seen on the streets of Paris. "With our security precautions, it is unlikely that Daesh could perform large actions in Iran," he said, using the Arabic name for IS.
"Of course, they might carry out small actions. But they cannot create insecurity in Iran as they do in other countries."
During his visit, Vladimir Putin will meet Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tomorrow. Talks will focus on "issues in bilateral relations, including atomic energy, oil and gas and military-technical cooperation", a Putin aide said on Friday. Putin will also meet Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in his first visit since 2007.