On July 27, Iranian media outlets reported Iranian security forces had disrupted a network of Israeli Mossad agents and captured a mass shipment of weapons and ammunition the Mossad network had allegedly brought into Iran.
Fars News agency reported the director-general for Iran’s Intelligence Ministry for Counter-Espionage Operation said, “A network of agents of the Zionist regime (Mossad) has been dismantled and captured along with a large shipment of weapons and ammunition after arriving at the western border posts of the country.”
Iran’s state-run Press TV shared footage of authorities finding dozens of shotguns and rifles in a van. Press TV tweeted, “Iran arrests Mossad agents plotting urban riots, terror; huge cache of weapons seized.”
The Iranian intelligence official told Fars News, “The seized weapons include pistols, grenades, Winchester shotguns, Kalashnikov assault rifles and bullets, some of which, like shotguns and grenades.
The Iranian official further alleged the seized weapons were intended to “turn the protests into riots” and to carry out assassinations.
The allegation comes as protests have taken place for days in the streets of Aligudarz, in western Iran, over water shortages. Radio Free Asia reported on July 23 that the number of people who have been fatally shot during the protests has risen to five, while at least two more people had been wounded by gunfire that day.
“Iranian authorities have a very troubling record of responding with bullets to protesters frustrated with mounting economic difficulties and deteriorating living conditions,” said Tara Sepehri Far, an Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Government authorities need to ensure the right to peaceful assembly and stop security forces from using excessive force.”
Iran’s Fars News claimed protests over the water shortages have been “mostly peaceful,” however, “Separatist and anti-revolutionary groups have been attempting to provoke rallies into rioting by false-flag operations and through a large disinformation campaign.”
The Iranian news outlet further claimed members of the terrorist group Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO also known as MEK, NCRI or PMOI) have been trained by Israel and made the uncorroborated claim that MKO members have been present at the water protests in Iran.
The Iranian intelligence official further thanked the Iranian people’s “constant vigilance,” and called on the public to remain wary of “suspicious offers.”
The reported bust of the Mossad weapons-smuggling network also came just days before an alleged Iranian attack, using explosive-laden drones, against an Israeli oil tanker in the North Arabian Sea.