A former commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says "the United States and Israel have set up an intelligence organization in Iran."
Hossein Alaee also says that Israel has been operating "an extensive intelligence network" to monitor Iran's "political, economic, nuclear and missile activities for 15 years," Khabar Online, a news website close to Iran's Majles (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani reported on Sunday August 12.
It is not clear if Alaee was speaking with official approval or not.
In recent years several reports indicated that a number of Iranian intelligence officers have been arrested on charges of espionage for Israel or having a part in the assassination of Iran's nuclear scientists and triggering a major explosion at a garrison near Tehran, killing several officers including Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam, the mastermind of Tehran's missile program.
Ala'i, who has held top military posts such as the commander of IRGC naval forces and the chief of IRGC joint staff, also told Khabar Online that foreign-based outlawed opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) has always had its own intelligence organization and operation center in Iran.
He accused MeK of cooperating with Israel and the United States, "although the two countries have been operating their own independent intelligence network in Iran too," Alaee added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu revealed in late April that Israeli intelligence agents had stolen a whole archive of secret documents about Iran's nuclear program in Tehran and shipped them to Israel.
He said the documents weighed half a ton and included about 100,000 documents and 183 CDs and showed that Iran was working on a secret nuclear weapon program codenamed "Emad" which was aimed at mounting powerful nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles.
Israel later invited three reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal to Israel to examine the documents.
According to the papers, Israeli agents entered a building in Tehran that housed 32 safes containing nuclear documents. The place was being used as an archive storage after the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The documents were stored at a commercial building that did not attract attention. The building was not guarded after office hours, and Israeli agents had only 6 hours to steal the most important documents as well as hundreds of CDS, maps and tapes, the papers wrote.
Last year, Iranian activist Reza Alijani told Radio Farda that two Iranian agents who manned the Israel Desk at the Intelligence Ministry and IRGC Intelligence were arrested on charges of spying for Israel and were subsequently executed.
Other reports said a man who gave maps and information about IRGC garrisons to Israeli agents was also arrested.
Israel was further said to have sabotaged Iran's missile programs but reports about the infiltration have not been confirmed by independent sources.
Another incident in which Israeli agents have been implicated was a major explosion at an ammunition depot near Tehran in 2011 which killed the mastermind of Iran's missile program, Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam.
However, Israel rejected the reports about its agent's involvement in the blast.
In another development in early 2010s Israeli agents reportedly assassinated four Iranian nuclear scientists. Iran executed one man and arrested 20 others on charges of carrying out the assassinations as Israeli agents.
Israel has not confirmed the involvement of its agents in the assassinations.