Babylon & Beyond

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IRAN: Alleged CIA spies included government officials

May 22, 2011 |  9:33 am

Government officials were among those netted in an Iranian counterespionage operation that Tehran's intelligence ministry touted this weekend, a news website reported Sunday. 

The semi-official Fars news agency (link in Persian) reported "a number of Iranian government managers" were among the 30 arrested on suspicion of having ties with the CIA. 

Fars quoted "an informed source" as saying a manager of one of Iran's ministries and a number of other officials employed by government bodies were arrested.  

One official had worked at one of Iran's ministries for 25 years and was allegedly gathering information for U.S. intelligence with the aim of immigrating to the West and keeping his son out of military service, the source told Fars.  

The man allegedly had prepared "a very important package about the activities of this body, which included information on ways to sabotage it." But he was foiled by intelligence officers "minutes" before he sent it off, the source claimed to Fars. 

Another official gathered information about "how to blow up and conduct espionage activities" at his employer but was arrested before dispatching the information, Fars said.

Of particular interest to the spy network was information about how Iran was dealing with international economic sanctions and how it was obtaining X-ray machines, the report said. 

-- Los Angeles Times