Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) announced the discovery of an Israeli spy ring Sunday night. Western and Israeli sources with understanding of intelligence operations dismissed the claims
According to MOIS, it uncovered a Mossad-trained network of terrorists with links to the spy agency of an Arab state, plotting to sabotage Iran’s upcoming presidential election. Iran’s state-controlled English language Press TV cited an MOIS statement about the arrest stating that “The ringleader of this group was recruited by the spy agency of one of the most dependent and reactionary Arab countries in the region.”
There was no explicit identification of the Arab state implicated but it can be interpreted as a gesture to either Jordan or Saudi Arabia. Press TV further reported that “The prime suspect in the case … was assigned the mission to set up an operational group to carry out acts of terror in the country… on Election Day (14 June). A 12-member group was formed upon this order with the purpose of sabotage.”
The ministry said the spy terrorist network had also been tasked with fomenting sectarian strife across Iran, and had been tasked with assassinating prominent religious figures in the country.
Iran has routinely announced spy busts in recent years. The regime has claimed to expose Mossad, CIA, and British MI6 spy networks, and in some cases the accused have been hanged. Two alleged Mossad spies were executed May 19.
The statement further stated that the ministry also confiscated large amounts of light weapons from the group. The ministry warned enemies of Iran and Islam that they would face harsh retaliation if they cross the “redlines” of the Islamic establishment.
Western and Israeli officials scoffed at the claims.
“It is one more of these seasonal accusations” said a source. “Israel will not risk operations and waste resources on such a useless mission – to sabotage Election Day. The Mossad has more urgent missions to execute in Iran,” including those aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. “The spy claim is a sheer propaganda ploy by the regime to boost… morale before the election and to mobilize the people to rally around the regime”.