Iran intel agency
© Press TVFILE PHOTO: Iranian security forces. The Mossad operatives were allegedly devising plans to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists
The intelligence agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran has dismantled and arrested a large spy network working for the Israeli Mossad in the Sistan and Baluchestan province of southeastern Iran, according to a 21 June report from Iranian state news agency IRNA.

According to Mehdi Shamsabadi, the Prosecutor General of Sistan and Baluchestan, the arrest of this spy network came as a result of evidence that the Mossad operatives were devising plans to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists.

"The arrest of these Mossad operatives came after a complicated intelligence operation that lasted for eight months of monitoring," Shamsabadi said.

The agents under suspicion are currently in custody where they are being investigated and interrogated, before court proceedings for potential criminal charges begin.

Israel has often sought to disrupt progress in Iran's peaceful civilian nuclear program through espionage, assassination of scientists, and sabotage of key infrastructure at nuclear facilities.

On 10 June, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Mohammad Eslami, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been hijacked and was being exploited by Israel.

Israel has a semi-secret arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons.

Unlike Iran, the IAEA does not subject Israel to regular inspections, despite Tel Aviv not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Islamic Republic has previously presented evidence that the IAEA sends in spies and saboteurs under the guise of nuclear inspectors, who allegedly pass sensitive information to Iran's adversaries.

Skepticism towards the neutrality of IAEA also increased after the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Iran accused the Mossad of orchestrating the assassination, which Israel neither confirmed nor denied.

A top general from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of Iran survived an assassination attempt in the Sistan and Baluchestan province on 23 April.

On 20 April, a spy ring connected to the Israeli Mossad was busted by Iranian intelligence units in the same province.

The ministry statement declared that the spies were involved in illegal dissemination of classified information and documents.

The province is home to various foreign-backed hostile militant groups who ascribe to Wahhabism, the same ideology as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

The Israeli Mossad was also blamed for the assassination of IRGC colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, who was in his car near his home in downtown Tehran when armed assailants on two motorcycles shot him five times on 22 May.

"Khodaei was killed by the most vicious people, the Zionists, and God willing, we will take revenge for [his assassination]," IRGC chief commander Hossein Salami said on 30 May.

The New York Times (NYT) reported on 25 May that Israel informed the US it was behind the assassination.

Through European intermediaries, Iran recently sent an indirect cable to Israel that included a map of sensitive targets related to Israel's nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons arsenal, warning of a strike in the event of any direct aggression against the Islamic Republic.

In a further demonstration of increasing Israeli hostilities against Iran, the Israeli armed forces held a military drill simulating an attack against Iran. The drill involved the participation of US forces.