Iran says it has foiled a plot by Israeli and Arab agencies to assassinate Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
State media quoted quoted Hossein Taeb, the Guards' security chief, as saying on October 3 that the plotters had planned to carry out the attack in September during a religious ceremony in the southeastern province of Kerman.
The plotters had planned to plant some 500 kilograms of explosives in an underground tunnel beneath where Soleimani would have been, Taeb said.
Taeb said three suspects were arrested in the plot, which he said had been "years in the planning."
The IRGC's security chief did not name the Arab countries allegedly involved in the plot. Iran has had tense relations with U.S.-allied regional rival Saudi Arabia.
Taeb's claim could not be independently confirmed.
Soleimani has been one of the most influential commanders of the IRGC and his Quds Force played a key role in defeating the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq.