Iranian intelligence forces busted a “terrorist group” affiliated with the Mossad spy agency in the western part of the country, Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib said.
“A terrorist group associated with the Zionist regime which entered the country from the western borders was arrested,” the semi-official Nour News agency quoted Khatib as saying on Sunday.
The statement comes amid heightening tensions between Iran and its arch-enemy Israel over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The intelligence minister said “terrorists” had entered in the country from Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
“Given the cooperation of the new Iraqi administration [led by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani] and the assurances offered, we wish to see our western borders secure and clear of any security incident,” he said.
“We remind the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of its responsibilities in this regard,” he added.
He also warned that the Iranian military and security forces will not hesitate to deliver a powerful and crushing response to any “destabilizing act” against the country’s border regions.
Earlier this month, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for “resistance forces” to unite against Israel during his visit to Syria — the first such visit to Tehran’s close ally in over a decade of war.
Tehran has long provided logistical and military support to many factions fighting its arch-foe Israel, including some Palestinian groups but also Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah — a major Damascus ally.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against Iran-backed forces in Syria since the conflict erupted in 2011. While it has rarely commented on the raids, Israel has repeatedly warned it will not allow Iran to extend its footprint in its war-torn northern neighbour.