Iran claims it has captured Israeli agents carrying weapons to be used in protests

Iran claims it has captured Israeli agents and seized weapons intended for use during unrest sparked by Islamic Republic’s water shortages

  • Iran claimed to have uncovered Mossad ‘network’ infiltrating its western border 
  • Group was carrying ‘large amount of weapons and ammo’, state media reported
  • Weapons were due to be used against security forces during protests, Iran said 
  • Protests have been going on within Iran since June 15, sparked by water shortages in Khuzestan province and power cuts in Tehran

Iran claims to have captured Israeli Mossad agents carrying weapons that it said were to be used during unrest sparked by recent anti-government protests. 

A ‘network of agents’ was arrested with ‘a large amount of weapons and ammunition’ sneaking across Iran’s western border, state media reported on Tuesday. 

Iran did not say how many agents were arrested or when precisely they had ‘infiltrated’ the country.

Iran claims to have detained a ‘network’ of Israeli Mossad agents that ‘infiltrated’ its western border carrying weapons that it said were destined for use during protests (file image)

Israel, which does not typically comment on covert operations against its regional rivals, offered no response to the claims.  

Iranian opposition groups claimed the ‘arrests’ were state propaganda aimed at making protests appear part of a ‘foreign plot’ and to justify crackdowns. 

Protests have been ongoing in Iran since June 15 – beginning with demonstrations over water shortages in Khuzestan province and on Monday reaching Tehran after power cuts in the cities.  

Demonstrators have been involved in clashes with police that have left at least five people dead. Opposition groups put the toll at 12.

Tehran claims that protesters have provoked the violence, but activists say police have opened fire on them without warning.

Iranian state TV said that a ‘limited gathering’ of protesters in Tehran had shouted ‘political’ slogans after power cuts were announced.

Video from inside Iran seen by MailOnline shows demonstrators shouting ‘death to the dictator’ and ‘Khamenei, shame on you!’ 

Rolling blackouts began in Tehran and other large cities this month, with officials blaming them on the impact of drought on hydroelectric power generation, as well as surging demand.

Cuts in the capital have reduced in frequency since the first week of July when unannounced blackouts lasted for hours, but the energy ministry still notifies people ahead of planned cuts because of an overburdened grid.

There have also been protests because over water.

The southwestern province of Khuzestan has been gripped by drought since March, with protests about water shortages erupting on July 15.

Protests have been ongoing in Iran since June 15 – sparked by water shortages in Khuzestan province and on Monday reached Tehran when it was hit by power cuts (pictured)

Iranian media and officials have reported at least three people killed in the province, including a police officer and a protester, with ‘opportunists’ and ‘rioters’ accused of shooting at demonstrators and security forces.

State television reported a fourth person killed Thursday in the western province of Lorestan where people marched ‘on the pretext of water problems in Khuzestan’.

Khuzestan is home to a large Arab minority, and its people regularly complain of marginalisation.

In 2019, the province was a hotspot of anti-government protests that also shook other areas of Iran.

Over the years, blistering summer heatwaves and seasonal sandstorms blowing in from Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Iraq have dried up Khuzestan’s once fertile plains. Scientists say climate change amplifies droughts.

Earlier this month, President Hassan Rouhani said the drought was ‘unprecedented’, with average rainfall down 52 percent compared with the previous year.

Iran has in recent years been hit by several protests over the economy and living conditions made worse by punishing US sanctions reimposed since 2018.

The Islamic republic, also battling the Middle East’s worst Covid-19 outbreak, on Monday marked its second daily infection record within a week, with 31,814 new infections reported in 24 hours.