An Iranian website reported Sunday that Iranian General Ali Reza Asgari who defected to the West is being held in prison in Israel.
According to the report, an investigation by Iranian security officials showed that "Asgari was kidnapped by the Mossad in cooperation with the British and German intelligence services, and was ultimately transferred to Israel."
The report was published on the "Alef" news website, which is affiliated with conservative parliament member Ahmad Tavakkoli, one of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's main critics.
Alef is not a state website, but is considered a relatively credible source.
Asgari, who served as deputy defense minister and as an official in the Revolutionary Guards, left Iran in 2007, leading to speculation that the United States and Israel were involved in his defection and that he holds information on the Iranian nuclear program and the fate of missing Israeli soldier Ron Arad.
Ynet's Analyst Ron Ben Yishai said the report on the Iranian website may be a test to get a response out of Israel or the United States and further investigate where the missing general is being held.
Another possibility is that the Iranian claim is meant to counter Israeli claims that Ron Arad is being held in Iran.
The Iranian general disappeared in Istanbul, Turkey on February 7, 2007.
Iranian officials said shortly after his disappearance that Asgari was believed to have been interrogated by American and other Western intelligence officials on secrets he was exposed to while serving in the Iranian Defense Ministry.
This is not the first time that Iran claims Asgari was taken to Israel. Months after his defection, his wife Ziba Ahmadi blamed Israel for her husband's disappearance.
Ahmadi told news agency Mehr, "We view the Zionist regime responsible for my husband's kidnapping. Israel should know that it will be punished for this illegal, inhumane act."