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Iran Guards Commander Insists No Israeli Spies Worked In His Entourage

FILE - Top IRGC commanders (L-R): Ali Fadavi, Mohammadreza Naghdi, and Amirali Hajizadeh in a meeting of IRGC commander with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, undated.

A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi (Naqdi) has denied that two persons working at his office had been recognized as Israel's spies.

Naqdi has insisted that he would file a complaint against a pro-reform former minister and member of parliament, Behzad Nabavi, for spreading the false claim.

Dismissing the allegation as "lies," and "disseminating fake news," Naqdi has asserted that "inshallah" (God willing), Nabavi would soon stand trial to defend himself for the false accusation.

Discovering two alleged spies on Israeli payroll was initially disclosed on October 22, 2018, in a conservative website interview with Behzad Nabavi.

In the lead to the interview, the hardliner website managed by an influential conservative former member of parliament, Ahmad Tavakkoli, reported that two members of General Naqdi's staff were recognized as Israel's spies and detained alongside a number of political prisoners.

However, in the interview Behzad Nabavi had not named Naqdi and vaguely noted, "Two persons working for the office of an IRGC General, were discovered as Israel's spies and arrested. They were behind bars along with several political prisoners," adding, "One of the two was later executed."

Days later, the conservative site, Alef, removed Naqdi's name, while tens of local media outlets already reproduced the report.

However, "capturing" individuals allegedly spying for Israel is not entirely new.
In a report for Paris-based dissident website, Rooz Online, nationalist-religious activist, Reza Alijani, wrote in May 2015 that thirty members of the intelligence organs affiliated with the IRGC and Baseej (militia) had been arrested for directly cooperating with Israel.

"One of the detainees used to work as the private driver of the Baseej Chief Commander, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi," Alijani maintained.

The Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appointed Naqdi as the commander of the Baseej in October 2009, where he served until December 2016.

Naqdi is currently the deputy director of cultural and social affairs of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The news concerning individuals allegedly working as spies for Israel becomes topical from time to time, but dies down, since there are no independent sources in Iran to verify or reject such reports. Follow-up through state organs and the courts is also not possible.

Given the fact that all media in Iran are directly or indirectly controlled by the state, information on sensitive issues surface only when officials decide for their own reasons to disclose something or one of the powerful factions leaks information to further its interests.