WASHINGTON – Iran is accusing an organization of expatriates from the Islamic Republic of planning terror attacks within its territory, among them a deadly attack that occurred in a mosque two years ago. The US administration called the allegations "outrageous".
Tondar, an organization of Iranian expatriates based in Los Angeles, operates pro-opposition radio and television stations and has called for the overthrowing of the regime.
Tondar, which means 'thunder' in Farsi, is not on the US list of terror organizations, but American diplomats told the Wall Street Journal Monday that questions have been raised about its operations.
Los Angeles, where many Iranian exiles settled after the fall of the Shah, has become a base for support of the reform movement in Iran. Both of the managers of Tondar's stations have admitted they wanted the Islamic regime in the country to fall and be replaced with a secular government.
But Tehran claims Tondar is a terror group, and accuses it of a 2008 bombing at a mosque in southern Iran, in which 14 were killed. The ayatollah regime also says the group assassinated an Iranian nuclear scientist in January.
Tondar denies all responsibility for the events. "We are not soldiers," spokesman Iman Afar said. "We simply reflect what is going on in (Iran) and what Tondar is doing."
Afar added that both of Tondar's station managers feared Iranian retaliation, after an attempt on one of their lives and two break-ins into the organization's offices.
After the assassination of the nuclear scientist at the entrance to his Tehran home, Iran appealed to Switzerland to ask the US to shut down Tondar's LA offices. However the administration rejected the plea.
"I think allegations that a group in the United States is somehow responsible for an assassination in Iran is outrageous," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said after the assassination in January.