Iran’s intelligence ministry said it has broken an Israeli-linked “terror and sabotage” network which had its headquarters in an unspecified nearby country, media reports said on Tuesday.
“One of the Zionist regime’s biggest terror and sabotage networks and some of its agents have been identified. A group of criminal terrorists and mercenaries cooperating with them has been arrested,” the ministry said in a statement picked up by the Iranian outlets.
“A number of the operatives were arrested as they were preparing to carry out a terrorist operation,” it said.
“Heavy bombs,” machineguns, pistols, silencers, military communications gear and “other terrorist equipment” were seized in operations “in border and central provinces” inside Iran, the ministry said without being specific.
The operations led to “identifying the Zionists’ regional headquarters in one of the regional countries,” it said, without naming the country concerned.
Iran from time to time announces the arrest of suspects alleged to be working for US, British or Israeli espionage services. It rarely provides any evidence to substantiate such claims.
In recent months, Tehran has accused Israel and the United States of recruiting Sunni rebels in its southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan to carry out sabotage or reconnaissance missions.
Relations between Iran and its northern neighbour Azerbaijan have also become strained, with each accusing the other of preparing “terrorist” actions.
For example, last month Azerbaijan’s national security ministry said 22 Azerbaijani citizens had been arrested on suspicion of cooperating with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards “to commit terrorist acts against the US, Israeli and other Western states’ embassies and the embassies’ employees.”
Tehran is also unhappy over Baku’s ties to Israel, and its purchase of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Israeli military weapons and equipment.
Additionally, Iran is bordered by Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which have a US military presence.