The Guardian: Iran's revolutionary guards ratcheted up the war of nerves with Israel yesterday by claiming to have broken a spy network run by Mossad, the Israeli espionage agency.
Robert Tait in Istanbul
Iran's revolutionary guards ratcheted up the war of nerves with Israel yesterday by claiming to have broken a spy network run by Mossad, the Israeli espionage agency.
The guards' commander-in-chief, Muhammad Ali Jafari, said they had arrested Israeli-trained agents and seized hi-tech communications equipment.
Two days ago, Iran announced it had hanged a businessman who allegedly admitted spying for Israel.
Jafari said the latest group arrested had confessed to having been trained in Israel to carry out assassinations and bombings. He did not specify how many people had been held. But he told the semi-official news agency Mehr that the group had sought information about the revolutionary guards, military intelligence officials and Iran's nuclear programme, which Israel and the west fear is designed to produce an atomic bomb.
Mossad had provided money to buy cars and equipment, said Jafari. "The arrested people confessed that they have been specially trained in Israel for bombings and assassinations." Iran routinely accuses Israel and the US of spying against it, but yesterday's allegation was the latest in a string of such claims in recent days.
Ali Ashtari, 45, whose execution was announced on Saturday, was the manager of a company selling communication and security equipment to the Iranian government. The Iranian authorities said he had admitted during a trial last June to spying for Mossad for three years. They claimed he had been recruited to intercept the communications of officials working on military operations and the nuclear programme. Israel has denied the claims.
Similar allegations have also been made against a prominent Iranian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan. Jahan News, a website close to Iran's intelligence services, reported that he had been arrested last week. Jahan said Derakhshan had confessed in custody to spying for Israel.