TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has arrested a group of people linked to Israel who were planning bombings ahead of the Islamic Republic’s June presidential election, the intelligence minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.
State radio, citing Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, did not say how many people had been arrested or give any other details.
Iran often accuses Israel and the United States, its two arch foes, of seeking to undermine the Islamic state. Last year, an Iranian businessman was hanged after he was convicted of spying on the military for the Jewish state.
“A group of deceived elements ... who wanted to carry out explosions, particularly before the June election, was arrested,” Mohseni-Ejei said, according to the radio report.
He said they were “related to the Zionists.” Iran often refers to Israel as the “Zionist regime.”
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who last week prompted a walk-out at a U.N. meeting on race in Geneva after he branded Israel a racist state, is expected to run for a second four-year term in the June 12 election.
Former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi, who advocates detente with the West, is expected to be Ahmadinejad’s main moderate challenger in the presidency race.
Earlier in April, Iran executed three people convicted of being involved in the bombing of a mosque which killed 14 Iranians in the southern city of Shiraz in 2007.
Tehran had accused the United States of arming and training those behind the blast and said Britain and Israel were also involved. Washington and London have denied Iran’s accusations.
Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Richard Williams