Iran’s Intelligence Minister has rejected accusations that a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team was a spy.
Iranian judicial authorities announced on October 8 that Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of spying.
A spokesman for the judiciary said that Dorri Esfahani was “among some who were accused of spying and providing information to foreigners and had links with two espionage services."
Now, the intelligence minister not only has denied this allegation, but has said that Mr. Dorri Esfahani had been cooperating with “Intelligence Ministry’s anti-espionage” unit.
Alavi also told ISNA that the right authority to pass judgement on issues of espionage is the intelligence ministry, and not other bodies. This means the intelligence ministry had nothing to do with Dorri Esfahani’s arrest or prosecution.
The Islamic Republic has multiple security and intelligence units. The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, IRGC, has its own vast intelligence apparatus and often acts on its own to arrest people even for vague charges unrelated to national security.
On the overall political line-up of forces, the IRGC is a close ally of Iran’s Judiciary and both are under the Supreme Leader’s control.
The minister of intelligence added, “In the opinion of the anti-espionage directorate, Mr. Dorri Esfahani not only had not committed an act of espionage, but had astutely resisted the overtures of foreign intelligence agencies and had cooperated with the anti-espionage directorate”.
Mr. Alavi reiterated that his ministry was in charge of insuring the security of the nuclear negotiations and had reported all relevant developments to higher authorities.
Dorri Esfahani’s saga began a year ago, when in August 2016 news outlets close to the IRGC reported his arrest.
The reports said he had been arrested on suspicion of "selling the country's economic information to foreigners."
He was later granted bail, which is rare in Iran for those accused of serious crimes, and denied the allegations. But last Sunday the Judiciary announced his conviction on the same charges.