Iran has disrupted an Islamic State bombing plot targeting the Shi’ite religious commemoration of Ashoura, according to state media reports on Thursday.
"Intelligence ministry agents, with the cooperation of other security forces, succeeded to defuse one of the anti-security plots of the 'takfiri' terrorist groups and prevent an inhuman crime in the ceremonies," Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said, according to the official IRNA media outlet.
The term takfiri is used by Iranian officials when referring to militant Sunni Muslim fundamentalist groups such as IS.
Alavi did not provide details as to how the alleged attackers entered Iran. IRNA quoted Alavi as saying some 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives were confiscated and several foreign nationals were arrested.
The attacks were planned in Iran's southern Fars province, police said.
"During multiple complex operations, 11 non-Iranian terrorists were arrested, and intelligence equipment and an enormous amount of explosives, cars, and guns were discovered and seized from them," General Ahmad Ali Goodarzi, the head of Fars province police, told Iranian media outlets.
Ashoura commemorates the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. It is a high holy time for Shi'ites. Ceremonies through the years in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other Mideast and Persian Gulf nations have been disrupted by Sunni extremism attacks in sectarian rivalries.
"Sunni extremists and takfiris use every chance to attack Shia rituals and especially Ashoura,” said Abdolhossein Amiri a political analyst in Tehran.
"They have attacked Shia mourners several times in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and no wonder that they have tried to plot attacks in Iran.”
Alavi said Iran's foreign "enemies" were involved in the plot but offered no further details.
Iran said in June that it broke up a plot by what authorities said were Sunni extremists who had planned to carry out a series of bomb attacks during the holy month of Ramadan.