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Rouhani Adviser Denies Office Spy Links

Hassan Rouhani cultural adviser, Hesamodin Ashena

President Rouhani’s adviser has denied his office chief of staff has been arrested for espionage. Meanwhile, Hesamodin Ashena neither confirmed nor denied that any of his staff has been detained for spying.

In response to a reporter’s question on June 1, the spokesman for the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, confirmed that intelligence agents had arrested a person at Ashna’s office for espionage.

He did not elaborate on the identity of the detainee.

“It is possible that someone was arrested at his/her workplace, but this does not necessarily mean the person working next to him/her is also involved in the matter,” he said.

Nevertheless, the judiciary’s news agency, Mizan, reported on Ashna’s chief of staff being arrested for espionage in its lead story on June 2.

Ashna reacted in a piece written on his Telegram social media channel, accusing the judiciary’s news website of distortion.

“The original story was published by Mehr News Agency and, according to it, [the judiciary’s spokesman] was asked about someone connected to my office being arrested for espionage. Yet, the judiciary website replaced the term ‘someone connected’ with ‘chief of staff’ and distorted the whole story.”

Meanwhile, Ashna has kept mum on whether any member of his staff has been arrested.

Long before the news broke, former conservative MP Hamid Rasaei said in his Twitter account, “Someone who had infiltrated Ashena’s office has been arrested.”