Iran claims it dismantled Mossad-led spy network planning to blow up Soleimani’s tomb

Tehran alleges that a group controlled by Israeli spy agency’s cells in Europe was also planning attacks against civilian gatherings

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Iranians prepare to set an Israeli flag on fire next to a picture of late Iranian general Qassem Soleimani during a rally marking al-Quds Day in Tehran, Iran, on April 29, 2022. (AFP)
Iranians prepare to set an Israeli flag on fire next to a picture of late Iranian general Qassem Soleimani during a rally marking al-Quds Day in Tehran, Iran, on April 29, 2022. (AFP)

Iran’s intelligence ministry announced Monday that it had disbanded a major network allegedly sponsored by Israel’s Mossad spy agency, which it claimed had planned large-scale acts of sabotage in the country.

The agents operating inside the Islamic Republic were supposedly coordinated and financed by Mossad “centers” located in Denmark and the Netherlands, and were planning operations in six different Iranian provinces.

Among their purported targets was the grave of Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who was killed in a US air strike in Baghdad in 2020 and is buried in his Iranian birthplace of Kerman.

The network had also allegedly planned to attack popular gathering places and ceremonies during the Islamic month of Muharram, which began on July 19 and includes the Shiite holiday of Ashura, which falls this year on July 28.

Other targets included “fueling stations, power pylons and natural gas plants to disrupt domestic and export supplies,” according to the statement issued by the intelligence ministry. The ministry claimed it had also seized 43 “highly destructive bombs,” including “remote-controlled ones to be detonated in processions and ceremonies.”

The statement also alleged that the Mossad-backed agents had carried out test operations in Denmark and the Netherlands to assess their capabilities, including “hurling Molotov cocktails at governmental buildings, setting fire to banks, ATM machines, buses, communications antennas, etc.”

People leave a mosque at the conclusion of a mourning ceremony south of Tehran, Iran, July 30, 2019. A poster of chief of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani is placed on the wall, with the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, top left, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Tehran frequently claims to have foiled Mossad operations in the country, but the veracity of such claims is unclear.

Last December, the Islamic Republic executed four people accused of working for the Mossad, while three others received lengthy prison sentences.

Tehran and Jerusalem have long accused each other of espionage activities and plots to sabotage critical infrastructure, part of a lengthy shadow war between them.

In late June, Israel’s spy agency announced that in a special operation in Iranian territory, it had caught the Iranian terrorist sent to lead a planned terror attack against Israeli targets in Cyprus.

Israel views Iran as its greatest threat and has repeatedly threatened to take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran denies seeking such weapons and has vowed a harsh response to any Israeli aggression.

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