Iran’s Intelligence Ministry rejects the Israeli premier’s claim that Tel Aviv’s agents routinely visit the country for spying on its nuclear program, saying such “delusional remarks” are merely meant to ease the pressure on him over recent revelations about the Islamic Republic’s successful infiltration of the regime’s espionage services.
Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israeli spies have been working “all over the world in regards to Iran’s nuclear program,” claiming, “We also visit there periodically… to ‘catch up,’” without providing details.
In response, the director general for counter-espionage at the Iranian Intelligence Ministry told the ISNA news agency that Netanyahu “has the right to spin yards” of the regime’s spying operations.
Netanyahu, the official added, “has come under the most intense internal and foreign pressure due to leaks about an Israeli minister spying for Iran as well as the large-scale infiltration of the Zionist regime’s intelligence services by those of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The official was referring to the arrest in June of former Israeli energy minister Gonen Segev on charges of spying for Iran, giving the Islamic Republic information about the regime’s energy sector, security sites and the identity of officials in the security and political establishments, among other things.
Investigators found that Segev had made contact with officials in the Iranian Embassy in Nigeria in 2012 and visited Iran twice to meet intelligence officials.
The Iranian official said that Netanyahu had recently ordered Israel’s so-called Security Agency, better known by the acronym Shabak or the Shin Bet, to check on all political, parliamentary and intelligence officials for possible contacts with Iranian intelligence services.
“This order is indicative of the realities that do not need explanations,” the official added.
The hawkish Israeli premier, a staunch opponent of the 2015 Iran deal, has long been lobbying against diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program.
The deal placed Iran’s nuclear program under the oversight of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has repeatedly confirmed the peaceful of nature of Tehran’s nuclear work and praised Tehran for its full compliance with the nuclear deal.
Netanyahu has on several occasions drawn ridicule globally by using his showman skills and fabricating scenarios about the Mossad spy agency’s capabilities and what the regime calls Iran’s “secret” nuclear activities.
In late April, Netanyahu unveiled what he claimed to be “conclusive proof of the secret” Iranian nuclear program during a televised address from Israel’s ministry for military affairs.
During another dramatic performance in early May, Netanyahu claimed Mossad agents had managed to break into the warehouse in an overnight operation and bring back “half a ton of the material” consisting of 55,000 pages and another 55,000 files on 183 CDs.
Months later, Netanyahu went to the UN with more theatrics and put on show pictures of an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons storage site.
Except in the US, Netanyahu’s claims, however, have fallen on deaf ears.
The IAEA said in October that it does not take intelligence presented to it by Israel “at face value.”
“The agency sends inspectors to sites and locations only when needed. The agency uses all safeguards relevant to information available to it but it does not take any information at face value,” Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement in early October.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, also said following one of Netanyahu’s shows that the presentation failed to question Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement.