Dual Nationals Target of Spying Networks
An Iranian lawmaker said western intelligence services and spying networks are trying to "inflict damage on our country" by taking advantage of dual nationals.
"Anti-espionage measures and hitting back on foreign secret agents have nothing to do with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the 2015 nuclear deal], and the security agencies and their forces are always ready to effectively deal with such threats," Mohammad Javad Abtahi also told ICANA on Monday.
He made the statements in reaction to a recent remark by the US State Department about the imprisonment of Robin Shahini and the allegedly post-JCPOA increase in the arrests of dual nationals in Iran.
Shahini, an Iranian-American citizen, was detained in July 2016 in Gorgan reportedly for "collaboration with a hostile government."
After his arrest, the intelligence unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said a dual national had been detained in July, whom it did not name, in connection with charges, including "collaboration with a hostile government, acting against national security and communicating with anti-revolutionary agents and media."
Abtahi said, "Iran is under no obligation to turn a blind eye on the activities of dual nationals and the US claims are totally unfounded. Indeed, countries seeking to maintain their dignity and independence will never let foreign agents and their espionage activities infiltrate into their territory."
Over the past few years, especially after the nuclear deal, dozens of dual nationals have been arrested and convicted in Iran on what has been seen as an intensified campaign to counter hostile intelligence activities against the country.
Referring to the rise in detentions after the nuclear accord, the lawmaker dismissed any allegations about Iran's excessive use of power and likened espionage networks in post-JCPOA period to "depressed snakes who crawl out of their dens", and stressed that this can be deemed as a reason for the crackdown.
Abtahi said the western intelligence services are misusing those with dual nationality to inflict damage on the Islamic Republic.
"The spies holding dual nationality are mainly set to penetrate sensitive positions and intelligence, security and cultural communities," he said. "That being the case, our intelligence services must be extremely cautious about dual nationals' activities."
On the subject of accusations and indictment of dual nationals in Iran, the US State Department recently announced its full support for US citizens imprisoned abroad.