Iran says it arrested three Israeli spies

Suspects allegedly tried to recruit Iranians to gather intelligence for Israel; judge says most suspects confessed.

Arrest [illustrative] 370 (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Arrest [illustrative] 370
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Iran said it arrested three Israelis suspected of spying and attempting to recruit Iranian citizens to gather intelligence for Israel, Iranian news agency Mehr reported on Saturday.
The report quotes Iranian judge Dadkhoda Salari as saying that most of the suspects, who have gone on trial in the country's southeast, have confessed during interrogation to collecting information and transferring it out of the country, and aiding organizations that oppose religion in Israel.
"The three hired some 60 Iranian citizens to plot against the Islamic government," the judge was quoted as saying.
Iranian authorities provided no further information on the trial, and on whether the defendants were sentenced.
The Islamic Republic has frequently announced the capture of unidentified spies for Israel in the past. In August, an Iranian national was arrested for allegedly spying for Israel.
The unidentified man allegedly passed on sensitive information to the Israeli Embassy in Thailand, and intended on passing further intelligence information during a second trip to the Southeast Asian country prior to his arrest.
In May, Tehran announced it executed two men convicted of spying for Israel and the United States.
Mohammad Heidari, accused of passing security-related information and secrets to Israeli Mossad agents in exchange for money, and Kourosh Ahmadi, accused of gathering information for the US Central Intelligence Agency, were hanged at dawn, it said.
In 2012, Iran gave a death sentence to Amir Mirza Hekmati "for cooperating with the hostile government of America and spying for the CIA."
In 2011, Iranian intelligence services announced they arrested a network of Mossad spies linked to the assassination of the country's top nuclear scientists in 2010, and that the spies had revealed information on additional anti-Iran Israeli plots. staff and Reuters contributed to this report.