Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
A top Iranian official said Monday that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) operations in Iran were nothing but a cover for the UK's espionage efforts in the Islamic Republic.
"The Iranian Intelligence has recently learned that the BBC was not in Iran to report the news, but to operate an espionage ring sanctioned by the British Embassy," Muhammad Karim Abadi, of the Iranian Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Policy, was quoted by several Iranian publications as saying.
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According to Abadi, the Iranian Intelligence has been able to ascertain that employers of the BBC sent to Tehran "were in fact cooperating with several intelligence agencies."
This espionage theory, he told Iranian media, was supported by evidence the likes of BBC journalists using aliases to book hotel rooms. A quick investigation, he added, revealed that the broadcasting giant "intended to launch a spy network in Iran… luckily, the Iranian Intelligence manages to arrest several teams and others are being investigated."
The Iranians have been boasting about various intelligence coups for quite some time, in order to demonstrate to the West that Tehran is not oblivious to the counter-intelligence carries out within its borders.
Iran also means to deter the local population from cooperating with any foreign intelligence agency.
Tehran believes that the West will try to have as many agents infiltrate the country, as well as recruit as many locals as intelligence operatives, in an effort to thwart its nuclear development program.