[JURIST] Iranian police arrested twenty people near the Iraqi border on suspicion of participating in an international spy ring, according to state news agency IRNA [official website, in Persian] Monday. The arrests come several months after the Iranian government first accused four Iranian-Americans [JURIST news archive] of belonging to a US-organized spy network. The latest sweep included some foreigners, but so far specific nationalities have not been disclosed. The arrests allegedly uncovered five separate spy networks [Press TV report], and a regional Iranian intelligence officer said the detainees were trained by "enemy" intelligence services for economic, military, political, cultural and social purposes. AP has more.
In May, Iran formally charged [JURIST report] Iranian-American scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile] for an alleged plot "against the sovereignty of the country," and charged Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh [OSI press release] and Radio Farda [media website] correspondent Parnaz Azima for an alleged espionage conspiracy [JURIST report]. In June, an Iranian judge said that Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh admitted to carrying out some "activities" [JURIST report], although it was unclear if their statements were tantamount to an admission of spying.