DUBAI - At least four people have been arrested in Iran for trying to sabotage a nuclear site, an Iranian official was quoted by Iranian media as saying on Sunday.

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said officials had monitored and then arrested a "number of saboteurs" before they could carry out their plan.

"Four of these individuals were caught red-handed and their interrogations are ongoing," he said, according to the Mehr news agency on Sunday. He did not identify which nuclear site they were planning to damage or when those detained were arrested.

Israel, widely believed to be the region's only nuclear-armed state, sees Iran's atomic work as a military threat and has said it will attack Iran's nuclear sites if it does not end its program.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made some strong statements during his speech to the UN General Assembly last week in New York, raising tensions between Israel and Iran.

“Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone,” Netanyahu said.

Iran has long maintained that its nuclear work is purely peaceful, though Netanyahu has said this is a ploy to avoid economic sanctions that have had a devastating affect on Iran's economy.

In return, Iran accuses Israel and the West of being behind the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and of trying to damage its program in other ways, such as by cyber attacks.

"Faith-phobic, Islamophobic, Shia-phobic and Iran-phobic discourses" has reached "dangerous proportions," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the UN in his own speech, calling it "xenophobia."

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