Nearly total silence reigns in Tehran over Israeli media's claim that the Mossad apprehended and interrogated a Revolutionary Guard agent at his home in Iran.
A short audio recording was published by Israeli media on Saturday with a photo of a man introduced as Iranian national Mansour Rasouli, 52. In the audio recording, Rasouli says he was sent to Turkey by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to establishing an operational network to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in Istanbul, a Germany-based US general, and a journalist in France.
The audio recording surfaced hours after Iran International's report of the alleged Iranian triple assassination plot. Iran International's diplomatic sources said a member of the IRGC'S Qods Force had been detained in an unnamed European country for assassination plots in Germany, France and Turkey.
Apparently duped by his interrogators' claim that they were from one of Iran's many intelligence bodies, Rasouli says in the recording that accepting to carry out the operation was a mistake that he will never make again.
Israeli television channels including Channel 12 which broadcast the recording, without providing a source according to The Times of Israel, claimed it was made by Mossad operatives posing as Iranian secret service at Rasouli's home in Tehran but did not hold him after the interrogation. The newspaper also said Hebrew-language outlets had reported that some Israeli officials had confirmed earlier reporting of the plot by Iran International on Saturday.
Channel 12 news added, also without citing a source, that the Shin Bet security agency — which generally operates within Israel — also participated in the detention in Iran.
Iranian media, except the semi-official Mehr news agency and hardline Mashregh news website that have made very brief references to a Haarez report on the foiled plot to assassinate an Israeli consulate worker in Turkey, have remained silent about Iran International's report and the audio recording shared by Israeli media.
Iranian, Israeli, and Turkish officials have not made any comments about the reports of the alleged assassination plots.
It is not clear whether Rasouli, whose current whereabouts are not known, and the operative that diplomatic sources said had been detained in Europe are the same person or different agents involved in the same operation.
Israel has allegedly carried out dozens of operations and assassinations inside Iran, including the assassination of Iran's top nuclear man and senior IRGC member Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November 2020 for which it has never officially taken responsibility. Ex Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen in June 2021 strongly suggested Israel was behind attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Referring to the theft of thousands of Iranian secret nuclear document in February 2018 from a warehouse near Tehran, Cohen said more than 20 Mossad agents were involved in the operation. He said the agents were not Israelis, adding that all of them are alive and some of them have already left Iran.
Following Cohen's remarks, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who in the past few years has cast himself as an opposition figure, alleged that the highest-ranking Iranian intelligence official in charge of countering Israeli spies in Iran was himself an agent of Israel.
Ahmadinejad did not name anyone nor specify the time period in question but attributed the success of Israel's intelligence operations in Iran to the high level of Tel Aviv's influence and infiltration in the Iranian intelligence and security agencies.