You can tell that Iran is feeling a little beleaguered these days when there are reports that Tehran may be under attack from rodents!
That is what the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported this week, that police had, ahem, "arrested" 14 squirrels on charges of espionage.
The rodents were found near the Iranian border, allegedly equipped with eavesdropping devices, according to IRNA.
When asked to confirm the story, Esmaeel Ahmadi Moghadam, the national police chief, said, "I have heard about it, but I do not have precise information." He declined to give any more details.
IRNA said that the squirrels were discovered by intelligence services – but were captured by police officers several weeks ago.
'Are you serious?'
The reaction to the report on Tehran's streets was varied – from disbelief to assigning guilt for the alleged infraction.
"No, I had not heard about this, but it does not surprise me, foreign countries are always meddling in Iran," said Hassan Mohmmadi, a fast-food vendor.
Mohammadi asked me if I knew where the squirrels were from, and I told him that I didn't know. Then he came to his own conclusions. "I bet they were British squirrels, they are the most cunning," he replied.
Meantime, an independent journalist, Sepher Sopli, was not surprised by the idea that another country would spy on Iran, so much as he was dumbfounded by their methods.
"I read this story in the papers and though it was very bizarre; what struck me as odd was that in this age of modern technology, people were relying on squirrels to do their spying," Sopli said.
But, the report was still strange enough to surprise. "That's very funny, but you're not serious are you?" said Soraya Jafari, a student in Tehran.
Maybe not a first
Espionage not entirely foreign to animals. If true, this would not be the first time animals have been used for military endeavors.
During World War II, Allied forces used pigeons to fly vital intelligence out of occupied France.
More recently, U.S. Marines stationed in Kuwait trained chickens for a low-tech chemical detection system. It's also well documented that dolphins have been used to seek out underwater mines.
|VIDEO: Were Iranian captives forced to confess?|
Spying is something that is taken seriously in any country, especially in a place like Iran, where numerous people are currently being held on charges of espionage.
Still, the squirrels that breached the Iranian border carrying sensitive spying equipment must have been nuts.