Iran announces spy arrests after Ahmadinejad helicopter ‘accident’
June 3, 2013 2 Comments
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Iran announced the arrest of an alleged 12-member spy network on Sunday, just hours after a helicopter carrying the country’s President was forced to make an emergency landing due to an unspecified “accident”. Iran’s state controlled media reported late on Sunday that the alleged spy ring had been instructed “to carry out terrorist acts” aimed at disrupting the Iranian presidential election, which is to be held on June 14. In a carefully worded statement, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said the alleged spy ring operated under the direction of Israel’s covert-action agency, Mossad. The statement added that the ring’s leader had been recruited through “a reactionary Arab country” in the region and his espionage and sabotage activities in Iran were directed from “a headquarters in Britain”. Unconfirmed news reports claimed yesterday that “a remarkable amount of weapons” had been confiscated by Iranian counterintelligence forces as they apprehended the 12 ring members. The government’s statement said the weapons were meant to be used to “conduct terrorist acts” before and during the June 14 election day, and to “create ethnic and religious divisions” inside the country. On June 14, Iran is scheduled to hold its first presidential election since 2009, when the reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked mass demonstrations organized by the opposition ‘Green Movement’. Some have called these demonstrations a precursor of the Arab Spring, which led to the toppling of regimes in several Arab countries, including Egypt and Libya. The statement by the Intelligence Ministry did not identify the alleged spy ring members, but said their leader is a citizen of “a regional Arab country”. News of the arrests came hours after an announcement said Ahmadinejad had managed “with God’s help” to escape unharmed from an “accident” that nearly brought down his helicopter. The report, which was aired on the website of the Office of the President of Iran, said the President was traveling in the northeast of the country when the helicopter carrying him and his entourage experienced an unspecified “accident”. It added that the pilot had managed to land the helicopter without major complications, and that Ahmadinejad had then returned to Iranian capital Tehran by car. There was no mention in Iranian state-owned media of whether the arrests of the alleged saboteurs were in any way connected to the unspecified “accident” that grounded Ahmadinejad’s helicopter earlier on the same day.