10 members of the intelligence services of regional countries allied with Western countries were arrested by Iran's intelligence forces in the Bushehr province, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The Intelligence Ministry stated that the intelligence services of the unnamed regional countries aimed to gather information and espionage from "sensitive centers" around Iran and use Iranians living and traveling to those countries. A "deterrent action" was taken against the relevant intelligence services, according to the ministry.
The announcement comes amid ongoing tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan, with Iran accusing Azerbaijan of allowing Israeli forces to operate along its border with Iran and claiming that operations against Iran were carried out by Israel from Azerbaijani territory. Azerbaijan has denied the claims.
It is unclear if one of the "regional countries" mentioned by the Intelligence Ministry was Azerbaijan.
The Bushehr province, where the spies were allegedly arrested, is home to a nuclear power plant. In June, the power plant suffered an emergency shutdown.
The IAEO reported that a technical defect led to the power plant being temporarily shut down and disconnected from the national electricity grid, according to the Iranian Fars News Agency.
Last month, Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced that it had killed the leader of a group that it claimed was supported and guided by the intelligence services of countries hostile to Iran.
The group allegedly planned to strike sensitive and vital sites in Iran, according to Iranian media. All members of the group were arrested by Iranian intelligence forces.
The Intelligence Ministry did not specify which hostile states were supporting the group, but Iran's state broadcast IRIB broadcast a documentary after the news was announced, referring to the meeting of US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and insinuating that the US and Israel were behind the group.
The documentary also seemed to insinuate that the group was armed in Azerbaijan, showing pictures of Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, while stating that it was armed in "one of the neighboring countries."