Iran’s intelligence chief used state television on Tuesday to boast of the successful recruitment of a Cabinet-level official from a “hostile” country.
Mahmoud Alavi (pictured) claimed his agency had a “member of the Cabinet of a hostile country” in hand, AP reports, a first acknowledgment by Iran of compromising an arrested Israeli official.
No name or country of origin was nominated by Alavi, however he claimed it showed “the counter-espionage sector of the Intelligence Ministry is one the most powerful among world’s intelligence services.”
Alavi’s language and recent events signal he’s referring to Israel, one of Iran’s Mideast archrivals.
Israel imprisoned former government minister Gonen Segev in June after Israel’s Shin Bet security agency accused him of “committing offenses of assisting the enemy in war and spying against the state of Israel.”
Segev was charged with “aggravated espionage”, as well as assisting the enemy in wartime, attempted aggravated espionage and dozens of counts of attempting to provide information to Iran.
He did not deny his contacts with Iranian officials and Israel says Segev, who served as minister in mid 1990s, was an agent for Iranian intelligence.
Segev, a former doctor, was previously arrested in 2004 for attempting to smuggle thousands of ecstasy tablets from Amsterdam to Israel, claiming he thought they were M&M’s.
He also illegally extended his diplomatic passport with a pencil to avoid being searched by Dutch airport authorities.
If Segev is eventually found guilty of handing information to Iran — as alleged in an indictment revealed by the Shin Bet security agency Monday — he could face either the death penalty or up to life imprisonment.
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