Iran's Minister of Information Ali Younesi said on Saturday that his country had foiled five al-Qaeda "conspiracies" so far. According to IRNA, he said that since collapse of Taliban in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda made five attempts against Iran which have all been thwarted.
Elaborating on this, he said that different foreign nationals have entered Iran shortly after collapse of Taliban as the first plot. "We identified and expelled them to the countries of origin," he said.
The second al-Qaeda plot was that the intelligence apparatus learnt that some elements of al-Qaeda had embarked on underground life in Tehran and northern Iran. They were identified and arrested. "They had planned to launch terrorist operations from Iran," Younesi commented.
The third wave of al-Qaeda attempts against Iran was aimed at infiltrating into Iran from Iraq under cover of Ansar-e Islam and Jond al-Islam. They were mainly from Iraq and used to carry out cross-border movements.
The fourth wave, was presence of al-Qaeda in eastern part of Iran in the networks of banditry and drug trafficking, he said. "They had planned to launch terrorist operations and sabotage in Iranian large cities especially in Tehran. Majority of them have been identified and arrested, including 'Abdul Malik' who illegally used to live in Sistan and Baluchestan province and occasionally carried out banditry in eastern Iran."
Younesi said that the fifth attempt of al-Qaeda offensive against Iran began last week in which a group of al-Qaeda elements formed teams for terrorist attacks to support al-Qaeda. "They had unidentified students of theological center, from the Sunnis and Mowlavi sects who were cooperating with Iran and attempted to assassinate them in terrorist operations. They were identified and arrested," Younesi said.
The minister added said that about 2,000 to 3,000 al-Qaeda members were identified, arrested and expelled from Iran.