Saudi Arabian authorities said Tuesday they had detained another 10 suspects involved in an Iranian espionage ring, essentially breaking up the previously uncovered operation.
Two months ago, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced the arrests of 18 people, 16 of them members of the Kingdom's restive Shiite minority, in connection with the spy ring, which Riyadh claims is linked to Iranian intelligence, according to the English version of the Arab website Alarabiya.net
Saudi officials said Tuesday information uncovered in the investigation led to them to the second 10 suspects: eight Saudis, a Lebanese, and a Turk.
"Preliminary investigations, physical evidence which has been collected and statements from the accused in this case have shown a direct link between members of this cell and Iran's intelligence apparatus," an Interior Ministry spokesman said in March.
Iran denies involvement in any anti-Saudi plot, and in March the government summoned a Saudi envoy to protest the spy allegations.
Ironically, just last week Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi claimed he had recently met his Saudi counterpart and thought "a new chapter" could be opened in relations between the two countries.
In October 2012, Mansour Arbabsiar, a naturalized American citizen holding both U.S. and Iranian passports, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to participating in a plot to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
Arbabsiar admitted that he conspired with the Iranian Islamic Republican Guard Corps Qods Force and a person he thought to be working for drug cartel in trying to assassinate Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.
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