Iran says Israel-linked spy network arrested

TEHRAN, Nov 24 (AFP) Nov 24, 2008
Iran's Revolutionary Guards have arrested a spy network linked to Israeli intelligence who tried to gather information on Iranian nuclear and military programmes, the guard's chief said on Monday.

"The intelligence bureau of the Revolutionary Guards Corps has recently discovered a spy network linked with the Israeli Mossad," Mohammad Ali Jafari said on state radio.

"This network sought to gather important information from the Guards' military section, the country's nuclear centres and some security officials," he said.

"Very good information as well as equipment that this network were supplied with have been discovered and people will be informed of the evidence in the near future," he said.

Jafari did not specify how many people were detained or where and when the group was arrested.

He said the detainees had confessed to "being trained in bombing and assassination in Israel and had bought vehicles and lots of equipment with Mossad support," the state broadcaster's website said.

Iran said on Saturday it had hanged an Iranian telecoms salesman convicted of spying for arch-enemy Israel and warned that a "more serious intelligence war" had begun with the Jewish state.

Tehran does not recognise Israel and tensions have flared since the 2005 election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly said the Jewish state is doomed to vanish and branded the Holocaust a "myth".

Israel, which along with the United States accuses the Islamic republic of seeking atomic weapons, has never ruled out a military action to halt Tehran's nuclear drive.

Tehran insists its nuclear programme is only aimed at producing electricity and angrily points to Israel's widely believed status as the sole, if undeclared, nuclear weapons power in the Middle East.

Iran has always warned of a dire response in the event that it comes under attack by the United States or Israel.

The Revolutionary Guards, Iran's powerful ideological army, control the country's sensitive missile programme, including the long-range Shahab-3 missile, which Tehran says can reach Israel and US bases in the Gulf.

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