Iran Says Dismantling Cell Linked to IS in Border Province

DUBAI (Reuters) -
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, shown here speaking during the inauguration of the new parliament, in Tehran last month. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iranian security forces killed three terrorists linked to Islamic State in a city close to the Iraqi border on Tuesday, confiscating a weapons cache and belts armed with explosives, a senior official said.

The trio were shot dead in the house they were staying in Kermanshah city, the governor of Kermanshah province, Asadollah Razani, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

The city is around 60 miles from the Iraqi border.

A senior member of Islamic State was killed on Monday night in an operation in another city in the province, during which other supporters of the group were arrested, Razani said.

A mountainous area bordering Iraq, Kermanshah has a largely Sunni Kurdish population and a history of insurgency against the Shiite Muslim republic of Iran.

Sunni Islamic State, whose members view Shiites as heretics, controls large areas of Iraq and Syria.

Iranian officials say Islamic State terrorists have been targeting the country in recent months, while Tehran has ramped up its military presence in both Iraq and Syria following Russia’s entry into the conflict in Syria.

In June, Iranian intelligence authorities said they arrested 10 IS terrorists and seized about 100 kilograms of explosives intended to be used in car and suicide bombs and other attacks in busy public places.

Earlier Tuesday, Iran said it had arrested a dual national last week in Tehran linked to Britain’s intelligence service, the latest in a string of arrests of dual nationals over the past year.

“The accused was working in an economic sector related to Iran,” Tehran prosecutor general, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, was quoted as saying by the IRNA. Dolatabadi did not identify the accused person nor the second nationality.

The prosecutor said the arrest was part of a crackdown against what officials have portrayed as “Western infiltration.”

Iran’s potential opening up to the West after last year’s nuclear deal has alarmed Iranian hardliners.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have arrested at least six other dual-nationality citizens, or expatriates, upon their return to visit Iran in the last year, the highest number of Iranians with dual-nationality detained in recent years to have been acknowledged.

The government has confirmed most of the detentions, without giving details of any charges. The government does not recognize dual nationality, which prevents relevant Western embassies from seeing individuals who have been detained.

In a telephone conversation last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May raised concerns with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani over detention of some dual British-Iranian nationals.