Iranian authorities arrest members of a network linked to Tel Aviv who tried to sabotage Fordow uranium enrichment facility, state media report, without specifying identity of suspects.

Fordow is an underground uranium enrichment facility located outside the central city of Qom, around 180 kilometres south of Tehran.
Fordow is an underground uranium enrichment facility located outside the central city of Qom, around 180 kilometres south of Tehran. (AP Archive)

Iranian security forces have thwarted planned sabotage at the country's major Fordow nuclear site by a network it accused Israel of recruiting, state television said, adding the forces made arrests.

An Israeli officer first contacted a neighbour of an employee of the uranium enrichment plant and managed to recruit them both after paying them in cash and digital currency, the television reported on Monday.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard security agents were monitoring the network and were able to break it up before the sabotage could be carried out, arresting an unspecified number of people, the television said.

The Israeli prime minister's office had no immediate comment on the report.

The state news agency IRNA said a new agency called Revolutionary Guard Nuclear Command, which it said had been set up to oversee defence and security matters at nuclear installations, was involved in the operation to stop the planned sabotage.

The suspects "planned on sabotaging the Fordow facility and were arrested by the intelligence services of the Revolutionary Guard", the IRNA news agency said.

Fordow is an underground uranium enrichment facility located outside the central city of Qom, around 180 kilometres south of Tehran.

IRNA did not specify the identity of the suspects or say how many were arrested.

READ MORE: Iran’s strike on Erbil smacks of desperation

'Nuclear terrorism'

Iran has repeatedly accused US or Israeli agents of spying on and attempting to sabotage its nuclear programme, including by killing scientists.

In August 2012, saboteurs blew up power lines supplying Fordow.

Two years later, Iran said it had arrested several "spies" in Bushehr province, where the country's sole nuclear plant is based.

In 2020, Tehran accused Israel of being responsible for the killing of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an attack near Tehran.

In April 2021, Tehran said an incident that disrupted the flow of power at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility, in the desert in the central province of Isfahan, was caused by an act of "nuclear terrorism".

Israel has neither denied nor confirmed the allegations.

READ MORE: Iran nuclear talks halted after Russia demands

Source: Reuters