New Israeli stance in Iranian spy case

The instruction to lift a gag order on the arrest of a spy for Iran came from top Israeli government officials and could be an attempt to combat a softening on Iran.

The Petach Tikvah Magistrates’ Court agreed on Sept. 30 to extend the detention of Iranian-born Ali Mansouri, who traveled throughout Israel as Belgian businessman Alex Mans, for another eight days. A gag order on the Sept. 11 arrest of Mansouri at Ben Gurion Airport was lifted on Sept. 29.

A police official said during the court hearing that the decision to lift the gag order came from high-level government officials.

The decision to go public with news about the spy appears to have been timed to coincide with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to the United States, where he urged the West not to soften its stance toward Iran.

Mansouri is believed to have been spying on Israel for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. He was carrying photographs of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv when he was arrested.

Mansouri reportedly told Israeli investigators that he was recruited by Iranian intelligence, the Revolutionary Guards’ Al-Quds Force, and was promised about $1 million for his services. — jta