The leader of a US-based Iranian opposition group has been abducted by Iran while he was staying in Dubai, says his family. The group is designated as a terrorist organisation by Tehran, AP has reported.
Jamshid Sharmahd, 65, was reportedly due to travel to India for a business deal, but his family last heard from him on 28 July. A hotel in Dubai confirmed that he had checked out the following day. However, tracking data showed Sharmahd’s mobile phone had moved from Dubai to the emirate of Al-Ain, before crossing the border into Oman, where the signal stopped on 30 July.
On Saturday, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry confirmed that it had arrested Sharmahd. The Iranians believe that he was behind “armed operations and acts of sabotage” in Iran and published an image of him blindfolded.
According to PressTV, Sharmahd was the ringleader of the Tondar group, which was responsible for a deadly terrorist attack on Seyyed Al-Shohada mosque in the southern city of Shiraz in 2008. The attackers killed 14 people and wounded 215 others. Sharmahd’s family denies the accusations.
Also on Saturday, the spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Abbas Mousavi, criticised the US for hosting Sharmahd. Washington, he said, “Must be responsible for supporting terrorist groups which are inside this country and carry out and lead terrorist acts against the Iranian people.”
It has been speculated that Iran runs intelligence operations in Dubai where hundreds of thousands of Iranians reside. It is suspected of kidnapping and later killing British-Iranian national Abbas Yazdi in the emirate in 2013, although Tehran has denied any involvement.