Abdolmalek Rigi was arrested on Tuesday in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan and Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said he was at a U.S. military base before being taken into custody by the Islamic state.
The Pentagon on Thursday rejected as “propaganda” Iran’s claims that Washington had links to Rigi’s rebel group Jundollah and denied his presence at an American base.
In footage broadcast on Iranian television, Rigi said an American agent had promised “finances, military aid, arms and ammunitions as well as a military base in Afghanistan close to the Iranian borders” if he cooperated.
Predominantly Shi’ite Iran has linked Jundollah (God’s soldiers) to the Sunni Islamist al Qaeda network and accuses Pakistan, Britain and the United States of backing the rebel group to destabilize the country, a charge the countries deny.
Jundollah, which accuses the Iranian government of discrimination against Sunnis, has been blamed for many deadly incidents over the last few years.
The group said it was behind an October 18 attack, the deadliest in Iran since the 1980s, that killed more than 40 Iranians, including 15 from the elite Revolutionary Guards.
Iran’s Prosecutor-General Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said on Friday it was still too early to say when and where Rigi would go on trial, but a judiciary official said his trial would be open and might be held in Tehran, ISNA news agency reported.
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