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Iran arrests terror group, newspaper says

New York Times / April 28, 2009
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TEHRAN - An Iranian newspaper said yesterday that the authorities had arrested a group of what it called terrorists linked to Israel, accusing them of planning to plant bombs in Tehran ahead of the June 12 elections.

The daily Kayhan newspaper quoted the minister of intelligence, Gholam-hossein Mohseni Ejei, as saying that a "terrorist team" wanted to create "anarchy and insecurity" ahead of the elections. He did not reveal when the arrests took place or how many people had been arrested.

"According to the evidence, the Zionist regime wants to hook up with anti-revolutionary elements and use them as an instrument for its own purposes," the minister was quoted as saying.

The accusation was the second incident in a week highlighting Iran's long-running suspicions about and hostility toward Israel.

Iran does not recognize Israel and has no diplomatic or economic ties with it.

Such are the suspicions that a serious debate erupted here last week over reports that Israeli oranges had reached Iranian markets.

The oranges bore stickers indicating that they had been imported from Jaffa.

An Iranian official, Hossein Safaee, said the imports of the oranges was "worrisome" and demanded that the "violators should be brought to justice," Mehr news agency said.

It was not clear how the oranges, which were in boxes marked "Made in China" were imported. Some news reports said they had been shipped via Dubai and were distributed for free at one of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speeches near Tehran.

The minister of commerce, Moahammad Sadeq Mofateh, denied that the oranges were imported legally and announced a prize of $1 billion for anyone who could prove that they were, Iranian newspapers reported.