The Iranian government on Friday claimed that it conducted a "massive operation" against Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad, and stole information about "secret military facilities" and "weapons factories" operated by the Jewish state.
Iran’s intelligence ministry described the operation as "the largest combined intelligence and counterintelligence operation against the Israeli regime's Mossad spy agency" in the country’s history, claiming that Tehran identified a "number of spies" operating inside the Islamic Republic.
Iran also claims to have unearthed information on "dozens of spies and terrorist elements affiliated with the racist Zionist regime in 28 countries of the world, in the three continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe," according to a report in the country’s state-controlled media.
The announcement, which has not yet drawn a response from the Israeli government, comes as Iran engages in a multi-pronged proxy war against Israel in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack that killed more than 1,200. In addition to funding Hamas’s terrorist campaign, Iranian proxy groups in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria have launched scores of attacks on Israeli and American targets across the region, threatening to ignite a much broader Middle East war.
Iran claims it "identified and arrested" a number of "Mossad-affiliated criminals involved in some terrorist operations inside" the Islamic Republic.
Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and regional analyst, cast doubt on the extent of Iran’s claims, saying the hardline regime often projects "what they wish they could do rather than what their actual capabilities are."
"Most Iranians realize when their government makes such claims, it is because they must embrace fiction because nonfiction is just too hard," Rubin said.
Details about the operation come just days after Iran executed four individuals it claims worked alongside Israel to sabotage several weapons sites inside the country.
The four men were alleged to have "links with Israel’s Mossad secret service," according to CBS News, which cited Iranian state-run news outlets.
The men were reportedly "convicted of planning to target a factory in 2022 belonging to Iran's defense ministry and involved in missile and defense equipment in the central city of Isfahan."
Iran claims the operation was orchestrated by Israel’s Mossad, which is known to target Iranian sites across the region, and that the spies were trained by Israel before infiltrating the Islamic Republic.
Iran has claimed to have busted Israeli spy rings multiple times in the past months, including in December when a separate group of four individuals were imprisoned for having alleged ties to the Mossad. A fifth person was also executed in December over similar charges, according to CBS News.