'Mossad Agents Planning to Assassinate Nuclear Scientists Arrested,' Iran Claims

Media reports say three Mossad-linked agents were arrested in April and will soon face trial

Jack Khoury
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A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi (L) receiving Turkmenistan's President Serdar Berdimuhamedow in Tehran on June 2022
A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi (L) receiving Turkmenistan's President Serdar Berdimuhamedow in Tehran on June 2022Credit: - - AFP
Jack Khoury

Iran has arrested what it says is a network of three Mossad-linked agents that were planning to assassinate scientists involved in the country's nuclear program, Arab and Iranian media reported on Monday.

The arrests took place in April in Iran's southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

Iran would soon put the three purported agents on trial, Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted a judiciary official as saying, as tensions between arch-foes Iran and Israel continued to rise.

"The three were planning to assassinate our nuclear scientists according to intelligence assessments," Mehdi Shamsabadi said, without specifying the nationality of the detainees.

IRNA reported in April the arrest of three people it said were spies linked to the Israeli intelligence agency.

On Monday, Iran and Israel exchanged threats and accusations, the Revolutionary Guard saying that the death of Iranian Defense Ministry engineer in May 2021 was the result of "industrial sabotage" at a military site in Parchin near the capital Tehran.

At the start of the month, a report by an Iranian news site said that Ayoob Entezari died at the military site. The news came following two other mysterious deaths of senior Iranian military officials. Entezari, considered one of the top scientists in his field, held a PhD in aerospace engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and took part in several projects at the Institute of Technology in the city of Yazd.

In his comments to the Entekhab news agency, the commander, Ahangar, did not say who was believed to be behind the sabotage.

The New York Times reported a week before that an Iranian engineer was killed and another person injured in a drone attack on a military base near Tehran.

Earlier, Iran's Defense Ministry reported the event at the Parchin complex as an "accident" at a research unit, and identified the engineer as Ehsun Ghadbeigi. A later statement from the same ministry said they viewed the event as an attack, according to the New York Times.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also revealed on Monday that Turkey has arrested "a number of terrorists," in coordination with Israel as part of an attempt to thwart attacks against Jews and Israelis in Istanbul.

Though Bennett did not mention that Iran was behind these plans, his comments come as Israel issued severe warnings to its citizens abroad that Iranian operatives plan to kidnap or harm them.

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