FBI: Terror Group Members Arrested
By ROBERT JABLON
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Seven members of an anti-Iranian terror group have
been arrested for collecting money that was used for weapons including
mortars and rockets, the FBI (news - web sites) said Wednesday. Photo
here Cartoon here
The seven members of the Mujahedeen Khalq Organization of Iran, or
the People's Holy Warriors, were arrested Tuesday following a three-year
international investigation, the FBI's James DeSarno told reporters.
None of the seven is tied to any terrorist act in the United States
or overseas, DeSarno said.
``The subjects in this case targeted (for fund-raising) travelers,
primarily of Asian descent, as they arrived at Los Angeles International
Airport. They dressed in business attire and used binders containing photographs
of starving children and other documents,'' DeSarno said.
As much as $10,000 a day was collected in this manner, he said.
They also solicited members of the Iranian community, he said.
The cell raised the funds on behalf of a charity fund known as the
Committee for Human Rights, but investigators found that the money was
used to support terrorist actions, he said.
``It is believed that the money was used to buy arms, such as mortars
and rocket propelled grenades or RPGs,'' DeSarno said.
The group deposited $1 million in a Turkish bank during a 12-month
period. In April 1999, another $400,000 was transferred to a used auto
parts store in the United Arab Emirates, he said.
The mujahedeen participated in the demonstrations that helped overthrown
the shah of Iran in 1978. The group is believed to have participated in
the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, and to have killed
several U.S. military personnel and civilians, DeSarno said.
The group, however, split from the Islamic Revolution led by Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini. It is now based in Iraq and seeks to overthrow Iran's
The State Department has said that Iraq has spent millions of dollars
building a military base for the mujahedeen.
The seven were identified as Iranian nationals living in Los Angeles.
The FBI said the group's leader was Tahmineh Tahamtan, 39. The others
were identified as Mustafa Ahmady, 46; Hossein Afshari, 43; Ali Reza Moradi,
30; Hassan Rezai, 46; Najaf Eshkoftegi, 50, and Mohammad Omidvar, 44.
All were charged with support of a terrorist organization, which carries
a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.