Israeli security service arrests 'Iranian spy'

Dual nationality Belgian-Iranian businessman Ali Mansouri accused of receiving $1m fee to spy on Israeli and Western targets

Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service arrested a Belgian citizen of Iranian origin on Sunday, after it claimed he was spying on the country disguised as a window and roofing salesman.

The announcement coincides with a trip by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to the US aimed at casting doubt on Iran’s recent positive interactions with the West, although Shin Bet denied there was a link. Netanyahu will visit the White House on Monday, and address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

According to Shin Bet, 58-year-old businessman Ali Mansouri has admitted to interrogators that he was recruited last year by Quds Force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite unit. The security service claims he was sent to Israel to set up business ties as a cover for spying on Israeli and Western targets, and to “harm Israeli and Western interests” for an alleged fee of $1 million.

The Belgian-Iranian man entered Israel on 6 September with a Belgian passport, under the name Alex Mans. He was arrested five days later at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, as he was about to board a European flight.  In his possession were photographs that Israel say are of “interest [to] Iranian intelligence.“

The photographs include the cafe next to the US Embassy, a rooftop view of the embassy taken from a nearby building, and the baggage claim hall of the airport. Another shows him posing on the Tel Aviv seaside boardwalk clutching a map. 

Iran have not offered an official comment on the spy, but the country’s state television has called the arrest an attempt at ”anti-Iranian propaganda“ by Israel before Netanyahu's meeting with Obama.

Before boarding a plane to the US, the Israeli Prime Minister said the purpose of his trip was to ”tell the truth in the face of the sweet-talk and the onslaught of smiles.“ His statement is the first official  Israeli reaction to telephone calls last week between US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

In recent years, both Israel and Iran have been engaged in intense mutual espionage efforts. Israel has convicted several Arab citizens of spying for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, funded by Iran.

In turn, Iran suspects Israel of assassinating its nuclear scientists, and believes Israel and the US are behind a computer virus that disrupted Iranian nuclear facilities.

A lawyer for Mansouri could not immediately be located, and Shin Bet, the Israel Police, and Israel's Justice Ministry said they did not know who is representing him.

Mr Mansouri's picture of the US embassy Mr Mansouri's picture of the US embassy

Mr Mansouri in Tel Aviv Mr Mansouri in Tel Aviv  

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own