Col. Amin Yamini, the IRGC commander in Shahriar, a suburb of the capital, Tehran, said Sept. 13 that a member of Ajnad Al-Sham, the Syrian branch of IS, has been detained and was planning to organize 300 terrorists to carry out suicide attacks during the holy month of Muharram.
Muḥarram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and starts Oct. 1. During this holy month, Shiites in Iran hold memorial ceremonies to mourn the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet of Islam, who was martyred by the Umayyad Caliph Yazid in the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.
The IRGC commander added that Iranian security forces had disguised themselves as IS terrorists and contacted the target to set a meeting with him.
“This member of Ajnad al-Sham belonging to IS has made remarkable confessions so far and had sought to organize 300 terrorists to carry out suicide operations during the mourning days of Muharram,” said the IRGC commander.
He continued, “Very important information has been extracted from his cellphone, and currently, the unknown soldiers of the IRGC intelligence organization are interrogating him.” By “unknown soldiers,” he means the security forces whose identities must be kept hidden.
“The security and intelligence apparatus of the holy system of the Islamic Republic of Iran is monitoring the movements of these currents and terrorist groups precisely, and [at] the time [the terrorists] arrive in Iran, [the security forces] monitor and control all of their actions and movements,” said Col. Yamini, adding that “sometimes the operation to capture [the terrorists] are done with delay in order for the identifying process of the leaders and associates of [terrorist groups] to be completed.”
According to security officials of Iran, in recent years terrorists have sought to plan attacks during occasions on which people take part in ceremonies across Iran. For instance, on July 12, 2016, Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s Intelligence minister, said that six individuals belonging to “terrorist groups” had been detained and were planning to carry out attacks on the Night of Power falling toward the end of the holy month of Ramadan and Quds Day, the last Friday of Ramadan in which Iranians take to the streets to rally for the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation.
In another instance, on Dec. 24, 2014, Alavi stated that three terrorist leaders who were planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting Shiite mourning ceremonies during the last days of the Islamic month of Safar had been arrested.
On June 7 this year, two simultaneous terrorist attacks claimed by IS targeted Iran’s parliament building and the mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Those attacks left 17 people dead.
In other news, Mahmood Vaezi, the Iranian president’s chief of staff, told a group of reporters that Hassan Rouhani’s trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly would be brief.
The chief of staff said on Sept. 13, “Rouhani will have a short trip [to New York], and he has different [plans] on his schedule including addressing the UN General Assembly, a summit with Muslims, a meeting with Iranian residents of New York and [a summit with] America’s elites. He will also have meetings with a number of presidents of important countries.”