Members of a group linked to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad have been arrested in Iran, state TV in Iran said on Tuesday.
“A network of spy agents, with a large amount of weapons and ammunition” was apprehended after sneaking into Iran from across its western border, the broadcaster said.
It claimed they had intended to use the arms for assassinations and rioting.
At least five people have been killed in Iran this month in protests over water shortages affecting Khuzestan province, in the southwest part of the country, according to statements carried by state-run and semi-official Iranian media.
The television report did not elaborate or say how many “agents” were arrested or when they purportedly infiltrated Iran, which borders Turkey and Iraq to its west.
Tehran occasionally announces the detention of people it says are spying for foreign countries, such as the US and Israel.
In western Iran, there has been occasional fighting between Iranian forces and Kurdish separatists as well as militants linked to ISIS.
In July 2020, Iran said “terrorists” killed two people in an attack in its Kurdistan province.
Tehran does not recognise Israel’s statehood and supports anti-Israeli armed groups in the Middle East, such as Lebanon’s Shiite militant Hezbollah group and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Last year, Iran executed a man convicted of leaking information to the US and Israel about the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general Qassem Suleimani, who was later killed by a US drone strike in Iraq.
In 2019, Tehran said it had arrested 17 Iranians accused of spying on the country’s nuclear and military sites for the CIA.
It reported that some of them had been sentenced to death.