A former member of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) says a man arrested in Israel on charges of spying for Iran has been a long serving member of the anti-Iranian group.
Ali Mansouri, a dual Iranian-Belgian national, was detained on September 11 by Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet, allegedly for taking notes on the security screenings at Israel's international airport and photographing the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, according to the Israeli security agency.
The former MKO member, however, said Mansouri was a close member of the MKO for at least 30 years and has been working as a go-between for the terrorist group and Israel’s spy agency Mossad.
He added that Mansouri, who lived in Turkey between 1980 and 1998, travelled to Iran regularly posing as a businessman to gather information for Mossad and MKO leaders.
It was no secret to us even in those days that he was working as an agent between MKO and Mossad and that is why he travelled personally to Israel a few times, the source said.
The amateur nature of the photos taken by Mansouri and the timing of the arrest have raised speculations that the arrest was politically motivated.
The Israeli regime announced the arrest in late September as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for the US to persuade US President Barack Obama that stepped-up sanctions, not diplomacy, is the way to deal with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
The visit came after a trip by an Iranian delegation to the US headed by President Hassan Rouhani, and his UN General Assembly address that many in the West hailed as a first step to a possible resolution to the nuclear standoff.
The MKO fled to Iraq in the 1980s, where it enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala, near the Iranian border.
The group also cooperated with Saddam in the massacres of Iraqi Kurds and in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq.
The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and has committed numerous terrorist acts against Iranians and Iraqis.