Bloodstains next to car belonging to Iranian scientist 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer Iran)
An Israeli official on Tuesday refused to give credence to Iranian claims that it had uncovered a "major terrorist group" linked to Israel, calling Tehran's accusation's baseless and saying Jerusalem was not taking the allegations seriously.
The official IRNA news agency on Tuesday cited an Iranian Intelligence Ministry report as saying the terrorist group had been identified and several of its members had been arrested.
According to the Israeli official, Iran has a history of making these types of claims before the start of discussions on its nuclear program as part of its "psychological warfare." Nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers are set to resume in Istanbul on Saturday.
The semi-official Fars news agency said the suspects were arrested "while preparing to carry out terrorist acts", adding that a considerable number of bombs, machine guns, military and communication equipment had been seized.
Tehran has in the past accused Israel of being behind the killings of several of its nuclear scientists. In January the Islamic state blamed Israel when a nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran.
IRNA said on Tuesday that the arrests, made in border and central provinces, were the result of months of complex intelligence operations.
For security reasons and because of "possible attempts by the Zionist regime to carry out harassing operations", further details will not be announced until later, Iranian media quoted the intelligence ministry as saying.
Under Iran's penal code, imposed after the 1979 revolution, espionage can carry the death penalty.