The Iranian sentenced to death after being convicted of spying for Israel tells of his dealings with the Mossad in an interview with Iranian television on Monday.
The spy, Ali Ashtari, detailed the demands made of him by his Mossad handlers, who he said took advantage of his occupation as a computer broker whose clientele included top Iranian military officials.
"I was given a laptop computer so I could communicate with him and write to him by encoded and ciphered email, and he gave me two encrypted communication devices that I was to give to my clients, to test them out," said Ashtari, adding that he was told by his handlers to plant bugging equipment in the electronics he sold to his customers.
Ashtari says that among his clients were military acquisition officers from the Iranian defense ministry; and his handlers were apparently expecting to obtain information regarding Iran's missile program.
"As for the three military acquisition experts who were in contact with me, they (the handlers) asked me to bring them abroad under any possible pretext: tourism, special seminars or exhibitions," said Ashtari.
In a staged interview in the grand tradition of Iran's state-owned media, the spy was asked "if a senior military official asks to trade in an appliance or have it fixed, what do you do with it and how do you switch it?"
In response Ashtari said: "I take it to the company and it agrees to exchange or fix the appliance for him. The senior official who gave me the appliance becomes an intelligence source without his knowledge and I pass that information on, and tell them he has given me his equipment."
Ashtari goes on to explain that by bugging GPS (Global Positioning System) units with, Mossad agents were able to "see where that person was, know what he has and where he can be found."
No signs of abuse
Throughout the interview Ashtari is calm and composed – though one might expect someone convicted of an offense as grievous as spying for Israel to undergo physical or psychological torture, and that some sign of this would be apparent in his demeanor.
Israel has so far declined to respond to the affair save for a laconic statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry saying it was unaware of the case.
By putting a convicted spy sentenced to death on display at the present time is undoubtedly an attempt by Iran to deter other Iranian citizens from aiding foreign operations in exchange for money.
Secondly, Iran is also interested in showing that in the ongoing espionage war between Tehran and the West, it has the upper hand and can thwart attempts by foreign spy agencies to infiltrate Iran and obtain intelligence regarding its military or nuclear programs.