Former military advisor Hassan Firuzabadi recently told local media in Iran that lizards have been used by Western enemies for spying on Iran. According to him, lizard skin can attract "atomic waves" and detect uranium mines.
"We found out that their skin attracts atomic waves and that they were nuclear spies who wanted to find out where inside the Islamic republic of Iran we have uranium mines and where we are engaged in atomic activities," said Firuzabadi.
Firuzabadi further said that over the past several years the "spies" have failed every time they tried to find hidden uranium mines.
An Environmentalist's Death
The comments made to local journalists came shortly after Kavous Seyed Emami, an Iranian-Canadian university professor and wildlife environmentalist, allegedly took his own life after being captured and held in prison along with other members of his group.
His son, Ramin Seyed Emami, doesn't believe his father would take his own life. Emami was arrested on Jan. 24, and his family was informed of his death on Friday, Feb. 9.
Emami took to social media to grieve his loss. "They say he committed suicide. I still can't believe this," Emami wrote on Instagram.
Is Iran Just 'Paranoid'?
Another expert, Omid Memarian, also told Newsweek that if Emami did anything wrong, he would have been forced to give up important information, and they would have to release it to the public.
Meanwhile, Eric Pianka, a Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, finds it quite bizarre for Iran to think lizard skin can attract "atomic waves" as the skin is made of two different types of proteins -- keratin A and B, which is similar to humans. He explained that neither of these can detect radioactive materials like uranium.
Barry Sinervo, a biologist at the University of California in Santa Cruz, also told Live Science that the claims about lizards from Iran are "absurd," saying lizards are cold-blooded and prefer warm areas and therefore don't intend to find cold uranium mines.
Lizards Aren't The Only Animal Spies
Back in 2016, a large vulture made its way from the Israeli border into Lebanon. Once the vulture was captured by the locals, the bird seemed to be wearing a tracking device, which they suspected was used to spy on them. However, they learned it was part of a conservation project to reintroduce raptors, according to BBC.