Iranian security forces have carried out three successful operations against terrorist groups in western Iran, a senior official said on Sunday.
According to Tasnim News Agency, Deputy Interior Minister for Security and Law Enforcement Hossein Zolfaghari said forces from the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Intelligence Ministry were involved in the operations.
“These operations were successful and significant losses have been inflicted on the terrorist groups," he said, adding that several terrorists were arrested as well.
The official noted that security measures have been intensified in fighting with terrorist groups in the country.
Iran has busted several terrorist groups during the recent months across the country.
In April, the IRGC smashed a terrorist group, which was affiliated with foreign spy services, in an operation in Qasre Qand and Nik Shahr regions in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
In February, Iran broke up a terrorist cell in the southeast of the country, confiscating some 350 kg of explosives.
Iran says the United States, Britain and Israel of orchestrate such terrorist attacks on Iranian citizens and officials. Suspects arrested by security forces have admitted to having links to CIA, Mossad and MI6.
MP sentenced to six months in prison
Iranian parliamentarian Ahamad Tavakkoli has been sentenced to six months in prison on the charge of “insulting officials and the Judiciary.”
“The official verdict was not given to me, but I was told that I was sentenced to six months in jail,” IRNA quoted Tavakkoli as saying on Saturday.
He added that the court, however, decided to suspend the verdict “due to my background and status.”
Tavakkoli, who is the managing director of Alef news website, appeared at the branch 74 of criminal court of Tehran on May 24 to address charges leveled against him over articles published on the website.
The jury had found Tavakkoli not guilty over the charges of “conducting propaganda against the establishment”.
The MP has been accused by Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, Hamid Baqaei, and Saeid Mortazavi (all allies of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) of “conducting propaganda against the establishment”.
Speaking after the court session, Tavakkoli explained that most of the accusations were based on comments posted on his news website.
Criticizing his accusers, Tavakkoli said if the freedom of press is violated, corruption will remain hidden.
10 drowned in weekend
At least ten people have drowned in waters of two provinces of Iran during the weekend holiday, Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization (LMO) announced on Saturday.
The organization said that all the victims were men, IRNA reported.
The LMO added that five people died in the Caspian See in the northern province of Mazandaran and five others drowned in waters of the southern province of Khouzestan.
Many Iranians drown in waters of the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf every year due to not paying attention to warning signs and swimming in unauthorized areas.
$300m tax evasion discovered
An Iranian prosecutor said on Sunday that a financial institute was accused of involving in tax evasion worth about 9,000 billion rials (about $300 million) in one of the country’s provinces.
Davood Arezaei, the prosecutor of Iranian National Tax Administration (INTA), told Fars News Agency that the unnamed institution was issuing “fake invoices” to avoid paying taxes.
He noted that a file was opened in a court in this regard and arrest warrants were also issued for culprits who were behind the crime.
In February, INTA Head Ali Askari said that Iran is losing between $12 to 20 billion a year through tax avoidance and evasion.
“The losses are equivalent to 20% to 25% of the country’s gross domestic product revenue,” he said.
The official added that the country has to curb the tide through identifying the loopholes which are used to the detriment of the economy.
Askari said the government used to meet about 50% of its spending through the tax collection but it has raised this to 60% in the budget for the new fiscal year which begins on March 21.