Iran said Saturday that it had detained a leader of a California-based group for allegedly plotting a fatal mosque attack in 2008 that left more than 200 injured.
The country’s Intelligence Ministry said it detained the Kingdom Assembly of Iran’s Jamshid Sharmahd, who is Iranian-American, as part of a “complex operation,” The Associated Press reported.
Iran says Sharmahd ran the group’s Tondar wing and also claimed that the militant opposition group was planning additional attacks in the Middle Eastern nation amid tensions between the U.S. and Tehran relating to the deterioration of their 2015 nuclear deal.
While negotiating the deal, Iran continuously brought up the Kingdom group. In 2018, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal, which would have seen Iran limit its enrichment of uranium so long as economic sanctions were lifted.
Though the Intelligence Ministry did not provide additional detail about detaining Sharmahd, its website published a purported image of his blindfolded face.
It is not yet known what he will be charged with, though accused perpetrators of similar attacks in Iran have in the past received death sentences and executions.
The 2008 bombing of the Hosseynieh Seyed al-Shohada Mosque in Shiraz, about 495 miles south of Qom, saw 14 killed and was linked to the Kingdom Assembly of Iran in a report on the arrest broadcast on Iranian state TV.
The report also linked the group to a 2010 bombing at Tehran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum, which left multiple people injured.
A rights group claims that the footage state TV aired of Sharmahd’s evidently swollen face, interspersed with the 2008 bombing, was one of more than 350 coerced confessions the broadcaster has aired in recent years.
Sharmahd was previously targeted for assassination, according to the U.S. State Department’s report, “Outlaw Regime: A Chronicle of Iran’s Destructive Activities.”
The Kingdom Assembly of Iran is based in Glendora — about 27 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
Source: New York Daily