Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Photo: Reuters

Iran tried to recruit Israeli spies

Shin Bet reveals it has uncovered attempts by Iran to recruit Israeli Jews of Iranian descent to spy for Islamic republic. 'All attempts have so far failed, but this growing phenomenon is very worrying,' Shin Bet official says

The Shin Bet has uncovered attempts by Iran to recruit Israeli Jews of Iranian descent to spy for the Islamic Republic, it was revealed Tuesday.


The Shin Bet said Iranian agents tried to recruit a dozen Israelis during trips to visit family members in the Islamic Republic.


"Until now we had to indict no one because the attempts were thwarted and that is our job. But we are very concerned by the ever-growing phenomenon," a Shin Bet agent said.


Over the last two years, over 100 Israelis approached the Iranian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey, asking for permission to visit Iran. Iran is not considered an enemy country according to Israeli law, and therefore it is not illegal for Israelis to visit there.


The Shin Bet said two Iranian agents posing as consular staff have been targeting Israelis of Iranian descent as potential spies.


The two Iranian agents have been identified by their nicknames Zainali and Abdallah, whose name is Abdallah.


"Iran sees in these people a potential to materialize its interests by spying against Israel," the Shin Bet official said. "When an Israeli arrives at the Consulate, he undergoes a prolonged questioning, during which he is asked about a range of topics, including the atmosphere in Israel, and political and social issues."


"We know of several incidents where Israelis were questioned under pressure for many hours," he added.


According to the Shin Bet, Israeli nationals who make it to Iran are not allowed to leave before being interrogated by Iranian agents and coerced to spy on Israel.


The Shin Bet also found that Iranian agents planned to use their Israeli recruits as a steppingstone to reaching other Israeli nationals connected to Israel's security services.


In one incident, an Israeli national was threatened to be thrown in jail if he refused to cooperate with the Iranian intelligence.


On other occasions, large sums of money were offered to lure Israelis into working for Iran.


פרסום ראשון: 04.17.07, 12:07
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