Iran claims to arrest spies near nuclear plant


(JTA) — Iran arrested what it claimed were several suspected foreign spies in the southern province of Bushehr, home to the country’s first nuclear power plant.

Fars News Service, the country’s semi-official news agency, reported Tuesday on the arrests but did not provide further details.

Iranian media reported that the country’s intelligence minister, Seyed Mahmoud Alawi, said that the suspects were agents of foreign intelligence services who had been engaged in surveillance and intelligence gathering, the Times of Israel reported.

Alawi said Bushehr province is Iran’s nuclear hub and therefore “has a special position at the national level,” according to Reuters. The Bushehr plant went live in 2011 and is not widely regarded as a proliferation threat as part of the country’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

Last month, the Hamshari daily reported that Iranian authorities had arrested a Ukrainian “expert” for suspected sabotage at the plant, according to the Times of Israel. Hamshari reported that the Ukrainian worked with the Russian contractor who helps run the plant.

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