“These people were gathering classified information on strategic fields under the coverage of scientific and environmental projects,” Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi told reporters on Saturday.
Separately on Sunday, Hossein Taeb, the head of the intelligence unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), warned that the enemy is sponsoring new groups to spark insecurity in the region.
The Islamic Republic’s “dominance over Daesh and other regional and extra-regional terrorist groups has led the enemy to consider creating new outfits to cause insecurity,” he said on the sidelines of the nationwide rally to mark the 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Taeb also noted that in recent riots in some Iranian cities, “notorious groups led by the Iranian nation’s main enemies took advantage of people’s rightful economic demands and tried to manipulate them through creating insecurity.”
“Of course, their measures will not go unanswered and they will be slapped in the face at the right time,” he told Tasnim news agency.
In late December 2017, people in several Iranian cities held peaceful gatherings to criticize the country’s economic issues. Those rallies were, however, marred by scattered riots, which saw vandals and armed elements launch attacks on public property, mosques and police stations.
Upon the outbreak of violence, the original protesters responded to calls by authorities and left the streets, paving the way for law enforcement forces, backed by locals, to intervene.
Iranian people also held mass rallies to express their faith in the Islamic establishment and condemn the chaos as efforts were underway by security officials to end the riots.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said a “triangle” of enemies — with the United States and Israel comprising one of its sides, a rich Persian Gulf littoral state on its second side and the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terror organization on the third side — had been plotting for the past few months to foment chaos and violence in Iran.
The Iranian people, however, distanced themselves from rioters after finding out their motives, Ayatollah Khamenei added.