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Iran Says Two Terrorist Cells Destroyed, Three Guard Members Killed In Operation

Arms and ammunition allegedly discovered from terrorist groups in Iran's West Azarbaijan Province. May 6, 2020

An Iranian news agency with close ties to the Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday reported that the Intelligence Ministry has "tracked down and destroyed two terrorist cells".

According to Tasnim News Agency the two cells were affiliated with "separatist groups that had entered the country from the neighboring eqlim [the Iraqi Kurdistan] to carry out harassment and terrorist activities".

The Revolutionary Guard and the Intelligence Ministry often use Tasnim News Agency for making unofficial statements. The agency usually quotes "informed sources" in the Revolutionary Guard or the Intelligence Ministry to support its claims.

The Tasnim report alleged that some of those who were detained had participated in "killing of innocent people and extortion from manufacturers and merchants in the west of the country". It also alleged that "the child of a supporter of the Islamic Republic was innocently killed by one of the terrorist teams in a murderous operation".

A photo that accompanies the Tasnim report shows arms and ammunition allegedly "discovered from anti-revolutionary small groups in Piranshahr, West Azarbaijan Province" with a sign showing the date as May 6.

In a separate development Mashreq News, a website which has similar affiliations as Tasnim on Wednesday published the photos of three revolutionary guards, including a colonel killed in "confrontation with anti-revolutionaries in Divandarreh", a city in Iran's Kurdestan Province.

Tasnim News Agency on the same day reported that Colonel Shakiba Salimi, one of the three Guards, had been buried in his birth village after a funeral in Qorveh, another city in Kurdistan Province.

Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) on May 7 reported that the Iranian Intelligence Ministry had arrested at least 15 citizens in Kurdestan and West Azarbaijan provinces "on alleged charges of cooperation with one of the Kurdish opposition parties".

"Based on the investigation of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, none of the detainees had come to Iran from the Kurdistan Regional Government as claimed by the Intelligence Ministry and are ordinary citizens of Baneh and Piranshahr," the KHRN maintained.

The KHRN report which named the detainees in the two cities also said that they were currently held by the Intelligence Ministry in Urumiyeh (Urmia) and Sanandaj. According to the report the detainees have not been allowed to contact their families.

The families of the detainees are concerned that the Intelligence Ministry may be using them in made-up scenarios involving torture to extract forced confessions, the report said.