Iran claims it nabbed Mossad spy trained in Israel

Captured network of spies allegedly linked to assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist a year ago; Iranian TV broadcasts confession of suspect.

By
January 10, 2011 21:41
3 minute read.
Man in TV broadcast says he was trained by Mossad [file].

Iranian mossad guy_311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

A possible blow was dealt to the Mossad on Monday after Iranian intelligence services announced they had succeeded in penetrating the Israeli spy agency’s operations in that country.

According to a statement put out by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, Iran had arrested a network of spies linked to the assassination of one of the country’s top nuclear scientists a year ago, and the spies had revealed information on additional anti-Iran Israeli plots.

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Iran blames the Mossad for the assassination last January of Teheran University physics professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, who was killed by a bomb-rigged motorcycle that exploded outside his house as he was leaving for work. Possible explanations as to why he was targeted have never been made clear, particularly as he had no known link to Iran’s nuclear work, although some reports have indicated that Mohammadi was involved in the country’s nuclear weapons program.

“After months of silent struggle, offensive, multi-layered and complicated operations and penetration into the depths of the Zionist regime’s intelligence led to the uncovering of very important and sensitive information about Mossad spies and operations,” the Intelligence Ministry statement said. “Heavy blows were inflicted on the structure of the Zionist intelligence and security services.”

On Monday, Iran’s state TV broadcast confessions of one of those arrested, in which the unidentified young man said he had undergone training in Israel on how to place bombs in cars.

In the confession, the alleged spy claimed he had been flown to Israel by an Israeli who spoke Persian, and was taken to Mossad headquarters, which he incorrectly claimed was located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. He said that the headquarters was four kilometers long and surrounded by barbed wire fences.

The man, whose face was visible, said he received training at the base.

“Two new Iranian-made motorbikes were there,” he said. “They told me where to go, where to stop, whom to call and how to do things back in Iran.”

The Intelligence Ministry said in Monday’s statement that the investigation into the professor’s death had led authorities back to the Mossad and to the conclusion that Israeli spies operating from Europe and from countries that neighbored Iran were directing a campaign to kill Iranian nuclear scientists. It offered no details.

“After extensive security measures and precise intelligence tracking... the main agents behind this terrorist crime were identified and arrested, and a network comprising spies and terrorists affiliated with the Zionist regime was destroyed,” it said.

Israel has made no secret of its efforts to covertly stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In an American diplomatic cable from 2007 published recently by WikiLeaks, Mossad head Meir Dagan told a visiting US official that Israel was conducting covert operations to stop Iran. A number of assassinations in recent years of key Iranian scientists were attributed to Israel.

The most recent assassination took place in November when an explosive device was attached to a scientist’s car as he was driving in Teheran. Another example took place in 2007, when nuclear scientist Ardeshir Hosseinpour died from gas poisoning.

A one-week delay by state media in reporting his death prompted speculation about the cause, including that the Mossad was to blame.

This would not be the first time Iran claimed to have captured Israeli spies. Over the years, the Iranians have made similar announcements, many of them believed to be fabricated and part of a psychological warfare campaign against Israel.

AP contributed to this report.


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