An Iranian official on Tuesday accused the west of using a lizard in its efforts to spy on the country in a speech to local media about the recent arrests of environmentalists, according to Agence France-Presse.

The official, Hassan Firuzabadi, was formerly chief of staff of the Iranian Army and now serves as a military adviser to the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Several years ago, some individuals came to Iran to collect aid for Palestine... We were suspicious of the route they chose,” said Firuzabadi. “In their possessions were a variety of reptile desert species like lizards, chameleons... 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.”

The claim comes on the heels of the death of Kavous Seyed Emami, a prominent Iranian-Canadian environmentalist who was arrested by Iranian officials late last month. His death was announced by his family Saturday. The government said the death a suicide, but human rights groups want an independent investigation. His family also doubts the claim.

Emami was arrested with other environmentalists on suspicion of espionage. 

Iran has run a controversial nuclear energy program that outside observers feared would become a weapons program. In 2015, former President Barack Obama helped a broker an international deal with Iran that lifted severe economic sanctions on the country in exchange for assurances and scale backs of certain elements of the program. The agreements were aimed at preventing nuclear weapon proliferation. The country also allows monitors in the country to keep tabs on the deal.

President Donald Trump has indicated his displeasure with the deal, calling it too lenient, and has threatened to end it.