Israel Rejects Iranian 'Terror Group' Claims

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel rejected Iranian claims of uncovering a "major terror cell" connected to Israel.

Iran's semi-official FARS news agency reported Tuesday that a "large and sophisticated Israeli terror and sabotage network" had been uncovered and several members "preparing to carry out terrorist acts" were taken into custody.

According to the report, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry had been tracking the cell for months and "a considerable number of bombs, machine guns, military and communications equipment" were confiscated with the "terrorists."

Iran's official state news agency, IRNA, quoted intelligence officials saying details of the operation were being withheld due to "possible attempts by the Zionist regime to carry out harassing operations."

"Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced it has identified a major terrorist group from the Zionist regime and has arrested some of its protected operational members inside the country," IRNA reported.

An Israeli official called the announcement "baseless," saying the rhetoric is part of Iran's "psychological warfare," which often surfaces just before talks on its nuclear program are set to begin.

The latest round of talks are supposed to take place on April 13 and 14 in Istanbul with the P5+1 countries -- the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany.

On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said his country no longer wanted to hold talks in Turkey, but would consider Syria or Iraq as alternatives.

According to FARS, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton suggested Norway, Switzerland or Austria as possibilities, but Iran was "not interested in attending talks in these countries."

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