Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi claims that the Born to Freedom Foundation, which offers a cash reward for information on Ron Arad, is actually a branch of Mossad working to enlist spies from Iran and other Arab countries.
Moslehi adds that his ministry has discovered the identities of Iranian citizens who gave the foundation information on the missing navigator and used them to reveal inner workings of the Israeli intelligence agency.
"The Zionist regime is interested in finding spies in different countries using this site, and enlisting them in order to lead its intelligence operations in Muslim states," he said.
Moslehi also called on Iranian youth not to "fall prey" to the foundation's tactics. "The Zionist website is meant to attract youths to espionage," he said, adding that Iranian intelligence has found "a large number of people who made contact with this site".
"We used some of these people in order to penetrate Mossad bases and that is how we have made use of them," Moslehi told IRNA.
The Born to Freedom Foundation offers $10 million to anyone who hands it information leading to the whereabouts of Ron Arad, missing since 1986, or any other missing Israeli soldier.
But the minister claims that Iranian citizens who cooperated were misled. "Anyone who cooperated with the site and asked for money after handing over information was made fun of by the managers of the site," Moslehi said.
He also urged others who may have cooperated to turn themselves in. "Those who do not come forward will get severe penalties in court," he warned. "The Ministry of Intelligence gives citizens good protection and prevents the Zionist regime's organizations from leading them astray."
Recently Iran announced it had uncovered an Israeli spy ring which was responsible for the assassination of nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi in Tehran last year. Iranian television aired an interview with the main suspect, who said he was enlisted and trained by Mossad.
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