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Iran says arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

AFP , Sunday 22 Nov 2015
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Iranian security forces have arrested members of an Islamist militant cell linked with the Islamic State group near the country's western borders with Iraq, the head of the Revolutionary Guards said Sunday.

Quoted by the ISNA news agency, General Mohammad Ali Jafari said Iranian security forces were monitoring attempts by militants to "create insecurity" in Iran.

"ISIS has multi-layered support networks. One such network was identified in Kermanshah province (in western Iran) and its members were arrested," Jafari told reporters.

He provided no details on how many people were arrested or when the arrests took place.

"The rest of the groups are also on our intelligence radar and they will be dealt with as necessary," Jafari said.

Iran, the major Shia power in the Middle East, is heavily involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq against ISIS, primarily Sunni Muslims who denounce Shia as apostates.

The Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is independent of the army, has advisory missions in Iraq and Syria at the invitation of the Baghdad and Damascus governments.

Jafari said the chances were small of militants being able to carry out major attacks in Iran like those that left 130 dead in Paris earlier this month.

"With our security precautions, it is unlikely that Daesh could perform large actions in Iran," he said, using an Arabic name for ISIS.

"Of course, they might carry out small actions, but they cannot create insecurity in Iran as they do in other countries."

Asked about Russia's launching of air strikes in Syria in late September, Jafari said "Russia was the first regional power that realised the threat" from ISIS.

"They understood this danger quicker than the Westerners," he said. "Of course, every country that feels the danger of this threat... can join this fight and a union is forming among countries faced with the danger" of ISIS.

His remarks came on the eve of a visit to Tehran by Russian President Vladimir Putin that is expected to be dominated by discussion of Syria and efforts against ISIS.

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