Iran summons Qatari envoy after arrests over 'plot'

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 04, 2013 11:12 AM
Iran summons Qatari envoy after arrests over 'plot'

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has protested to Qatar after uncovering what it called an Arab-linked "terrorist group", Tehran's semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.

Iran's Intelligence Ministry said on Sunday 12 people had been arrested for planning "sabotage" and "terrorist activities" on the day of the Islamic state's June 14 presidential election.

"Following the statement by the Intelligence Ministry about uncovering a terrorist network linked to a regional Arab country, the Qatari charge d'affaires was summoned to the Foreign Ministry," Fars said.

Iran, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been at loggerheads with Qatar and other Gulf Arab governments who have called for Assad to step down.

Tehran accuses Western and Arab states of fomenting terrorism in Syria by arming rebels caught up in the two-year-old revolt against Assad.

Iran asked the Qatari official to relay its strong protest to Doha during the meeting, which took place on Sunday, Fars said.

Iran's Intelligence Ministry said the head of the alleged cell had been recruited by the spy agency of an Arab country but did not name the state, again according to Fars.

Qatari officials were not immediately available for comment.

Iran says a solution to the Syria crisis cannot be imposed from outside, and has criticized calls for Assad to step down.

U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states have also voiced concerns about Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful energy purposes but the West fears is aimed at making nuclear weapons.

(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian, additional reporting by Regan Doherty in Doha)