Iran Claims Covert Operation Penetrated Israeli Spy Agency

Nasser Karimi
Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s intelligence chief said Tuesday that more than 10 people arrested in connection with last year’s killing of a nuclear physicist were linked to the Mossad and he warned that Israel’s spy agency was out to roll back scientific progress in Muslim nations.

Heidar Moslehi revealed few new details to bolster the claim a day earlier that Iran’s probe into the killing had led its agents to infiltrate the Mossad. He did not say exactly how many people were arrested but accused “more than 10” of them of belonging to networks linked to the Israeli agency.

Officials also displayed for reporters several handguns – one fitted with a silencer – that they said were seized from the suspects.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to comment on the allegations.

Tehran University physics professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi was killed by a bomb-rigged motorcycle that exploded outside his house as he was leaving for work in January 2010. Possible explanations for why he was targeted have never been clear, particularly as he had no known link to Iran’s nuclear program.

In November, a pair of mysterious bomb attacks in Tehran killed one nuclear scientist and wounded another – both of whom appeared deeply involved in the country’s atomic work.

Speaking to reporters, Moslehi said Israel was out to stop nations in the region from making scientific advancements.

He said Israel-linked networks had set up bases in countries neighboring Iran.

“We … created intelligence bases next to them through which we could strike heavy blows against the group,” he said, without naming the countries.

He warned Iran’s neighbors that Tehran would regard any cooperation with Israel on their part as terrorism and a threat to the entire Middle East.

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