Author Topic: Israel announces capture of Iran spy suspect targeting US embassy  (Read 558 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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Israel announces capture of Iran spy suspect targeting U.S. embassy

Special to

JERUSALEM — Israel has announced what officials termed an Iranian plot that included the United States on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu’s talks with President Obama.

The Israel Security Agency has reported the capture of a suspected spy for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. ISA said the alleged agent, a 55-year-old named Ali Mansouri, collected intelligence on the U.S. embassy in Israel, particularly security arrangements, for what could have marked plans for a future attack.

Ali Mansouri, 58, arrested at Ben Gurion Airport on suspicion of espionage, sits in between guards at the Petah Tikva court on the first day of their trial on Sept. 30. /AFP
Ali Mansouri, arrested on suspicion of espionage, sits in between guards at the Petah Tikvah court on Sept. 30. /AFP

“Upon his arrest, many photographs of various sites in Israel which are of interest to the Iranian intelligence elements such as the building of the USA Embassy at HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv were found in his possession,” ISA said.

The statement on Sept. 29, accompanied by photographs allegedly taken by Mansouri, was released on the eve of an Israeli summit with the United States. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Washington to meet President Barack Obama in what was expected to focus on the U.S. reconciliation with Iran. An official acknowledged that the government sought to announce the arrest of the Iranian before Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama on Sept. 30.

“We received an order to request the lifting of the gag order [on
 Mansouri's arrest],” a police representative said in a court hearing in the
 Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikvah on Sept. 30.

ISA said Mansouri, a Belgian businessman, was recruited and handled by
 IRGC’s Quds Force, assigned for intelligence operations as well as aid to
 such insurgency movements as Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad. Mansouri
 was said to have lived in a hotel across from the U.S. embassy and took
 photographs of the block-long complex.

“During questioning, the suspect, Ali Mansouri, described entering
 Israel under a Belgian identity using the alias Alex Mans, as well as his
 recruitment and activation process by Iranian intelligence elements,” ISA

Mansouri, who did not report an attack plot in Israel, was described as
 a major IRGC intelligence agent, assigned to establish a spy network in
 Israel. ISA said Mansouri left Iran in 1980, lived in neighboring Turkey for 17 years later. He was then said to have married a Belgian woman, acquired his wife’s nationality in 2006 and changed his name to Alex Mans. Mansouri later divorced the Belgian woman and married an Iranian.

“Mansouri was instructed by his handlers to set up a business
 infrastructure in Israel which would conceal the intelligence activity of
 Iran in Israel and be used by the Iranian elements for various purposes in
 the region,” ISA said. “For this purpose, he was instructed to make a visit
 in Israel, establish business ties and sign contracts leading to continued
 business activity.”

ISA said Mansouri was assigned to the Quds Force Special Operations
 unit, which focuses on Israel and headed by Hamed Abdolahi and Majid Alavi.
 The statement said Mansouri was promised $1 million at the end of his
 mission. Quds Force, commanded by Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, has been
 identified as sponsors of attacks on Israeli interests in Georgia, India and
 Thailand in 2012.

Mansouri, arrested on Sept. 11 as he waited for a flight to Europe, was
 said to have visited Israel three times on his Belgian passport. ISA said
 Mansouri, recruited in early 2012, sought to develop business ties with
 Israelis in an effort to establish fronts for Quds Force.

“Following his handlers’ instructions, Mansouri used a business cover of
 trading in and marketing windows and roofing for stores and restaurants and
 tried to establish business relations with business owners in Tel Aviv,” ISA
 said. “He always introduced himself as a Belgian businessman and even used
 websites and a Facebook profile presenting his alleged business activity.”

ISA said Mansouri, represented by two Israeli attorneys, disclosed the
 identities of his handlers. They were said to include Haji Mustafa, a senior
 official in the Quds Force, his handler, Haji Hamid Neemati and Mahdi
 Hanebabai, who directed Mansour in Israel.

“Mansouri also delivered that he had been instructed by his handlers to
 conceal his arrivals in Iran; after his trips to Israel he travelled to Iran
 in order to report to his handlers and receive their guidance,” ISA said.
“Mansouri’s Iranian handlers hoped that his Belgian identity would allow him
 to bypass the strict Israeli security checks at Ben Gurion Airport.”

This certainly proves Obama can trust Iran. :thud:
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 08:09:11 AM by rangerrebew »
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Offline mountaineer

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Re: Israel announces capture of Iran spy suspect targeting US embassy
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 10:56:59 AM »
If Obama won't say it, I will: Thank you, Israel.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

Offline Oceander

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Re: Israel announces capture of Iran spy suspect targeting US embassy
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 10:36:14 PM »
Here's a point to ponder:  why'd the Israelis make a public announcement about this guy so quickly?  Clearly making his arrest public gives all of his sources warning to cover their tracks and skeddadle if necessary before they, too, get caught.  It also announces to Iran that he's been compromised and they need to pull any vulnerable assets out of harm's way immediately.  Why didn't they hold off, give him a more extensive "debriefing" - as interrogation is sometimes called - and then used whatever information they gleaned from him to go after other Iranian assets in Israel?

Odds are that he is of limited use to the Israelis - he doesn't really have much info on other Iranian assets in Israel or any real insight into their espionage infrastructure - which would be why they aren't still debriefing him in private.  That raises two potential motives:  (1) to send Iran an implied warning in a very public manner that Israel is getting wise to their espionage, and/or (2) payback for Obama.

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