Iran Reports Bust Up of Another Mossad Spy Ring Amid Raging Secret Spy War
The Islamic Republic and the Jewish state have spent more than 40 years engaged in a back-and-forth behind-the-scenes intelligence war involving sabotage attacks, assassinations, and cyber malevolence.
Iranian police have announced the detention of five members of an espionage network said to be affiliated with the Israeli Mossad, including its ringleader.
In a statement on Thursday, the Intelligence Department of the Law Enforcement Command of the Islamic Republic of Iran indicated that the spy network had been in contact with a middleman from Israeli intelligence.
"The arrested five members of this spy network were given various pledges from Mossad, including financial promises, to gather information from important areas across the country," police said, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency. The group was also said to have engaged in arson attacks, propaganda, and graffiti against Iran's Islamic Republican form of government, and to have received training for armed sabotage operations.
Police indicated that they caught on to the group's activities from the moment they contacted Israeli intelligence, and it was stopped from following through with any of its violent plans.
Sophisticated telecommunications equipment, as well as phones and SIM cards, were said to have been recovered during the suspected spies' arrest, police said.
The report is the second time in a matter of days that Iranian security forces have reported on the breakup of a Mossad spy ring. On Saturday, the Ministry of Intelligence announced that it had confiscated weapons, explosives, and other gear belonging to members of an alleged Israel-linked network. That group was also said to have cooperated with the so-called People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran, a pseudo-revolutionary militant force which Tehran deems to be a terrorist outfit. The group's members were said to have entered Iran through Iraqi Kurdistan, and to have planned "unprecedented acts of sabotage and terrorist operations" before being detained.
The Israeli government has not commented on either series of arrests.
On Wednesday, Iranian Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib boasted that his agency had carried out "a number of successful operations" recently foiling Israeli plots.
The back-to-back arrests are the third time in two months that Iranian authorities have reported on the breakup of a foreign-backed spy group. Last month, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported on the liquidation of a criminal organization which had engaged in human and weapons trafficking before being recruited by Mossad and tasked with assassinating Iranian officials and Revolutionary Guard officers.
In April, Iranian officials reported on the arrest of three suspected Mossad agents charged with the theft of classified documents, and in March, the security services said they had thwarted the operations of two foreign sabotage teams funded from abroad - with those agents said to be planning to assassinate foreigners working on infrastructure projects inside Iran.
Iran and Israel broke off diplomatic relations in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. In the decades since, the two countries have accused one another of engaging in a covert series of killings and sabotage attacks targeting everything from ports, utilities, and Iran's peaceful nuclear program to cyberinfrastructure.
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