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Iran says it has arrested head of US-based 'terrorist group'

WION logo WION 01-08-2020 wionnewsweb@gmail.com (Wion Web Team)
Hassan Rouhani wearing a suit and tie © Provided by WION

Iran said Saturday it has arrested the head of a US-based "terrorist group" accused of being behind a deadly 2008 bombing in the southern city of Shiraz and of other, abortive attacks.

The Tondar group's "Jamshid Sharmahd, who was leading armed and sabotage operations inside Iran, is now in the powerful hands" of Iran's security forces, state television said in a report citing a statement from the intelligence ministry.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a live speech on state TV on Friday, ruled out negotiations with the United States over Tehran's ballistic missile and nuclear programmes, calling on Iranians to resist US bullying.

Also read-Iran: Khamenei rejects talks with US over missile, nuclear programmes

"America's brutal sanctions on Iran are aimed at collapsing our economy ... Their aim is to limit our influence in the region and to halt our missile and nuclear capabilities," Khamenei said.

Decades-old tensions between Tehran and Washington have soared in the past year, with the sworn enemies appearing several times to come to the brink of war.

Khamenei condemned calls for Iran to open new talks with the United States, saying he would not agree to meetings that were aimed only at boosting Trump's re-election hopes.

On January 3, a US drone strike in Iraq killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias on US forces in the region.

Iran retaliated for Soleimani's death days after by firing a volley of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq, but Trump opted against responding militarily.

While the attack on the western Iraqi base of Ain al-Asad left no US soldiers dead, dozens suffered brain trauma.

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