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Iran has 40,000 spies in Arab states: ex-agent

Former agent says Iranian cells active in GCC

A former spy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards revealed Monday the existence of thousands of intelligence cells for the Islamic Republic in most Arab countries, especially in the Gulf area.

The former undercover agent, who declined to be named for security reasons, said there are around 40,000 Iranian spies in the Gulf Arab states, 3,000 of them in Kuwait alone. He added that many are agents paid for limited services while others are regular employees in the Revolutionary Guards.

The former spy denied that Iranian intelligence in the Arab world are sleeper cells and said they regularly work amassing information on Gulf states’ military capabilities, infrastructure and key economic institutions.

“These cells are woven with skill similar to the weaving of a Persian carpet; they are often quintets of four members plus a commander and none of them are aware of the others' tasks and missions,” he said, adding that Iran spends “extensive amounts of money” on its foreign intelligence.

He told Al Arabiya that he started his job as an undercover agent for Ithe elite Revolutionary Guards two years prior to the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988.

“I was deceived in the beginning by slogans that the Islamic Republic of Iran was defending Islam," he said explaining his reasons for joining the intelligence service.

He explained his main task was to monitor and provide information on Iranian opposition leaders in the Gulf area.

These cells are woven with skill similar to the weaving of a Persian carpet; they are often quintets of four members plus a commander and no one of them is aware of another’s tasks and missions

Unnamed former undercover agent

Discrimination

The former undercover agent is from the Arab-majority city of Ahwaz, the capital of the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan.

He said he decided to give up gathering intelligence when he “realized how authorities discriminated against Ahwazi soldiers fighting for Iran in the war against Iraq,” adding that “wounded Arab Ahwazi soldiers were often given treatment on the ground, whereas Iranians of Persian origin were treated on hospital beds."

When he submitted his resignation to Iranian intelligence authorities it was turned down several times and he was kept under surveillance for five years before finally being discharged and allowed to move to a foreign country, he told Al Arabiya.

The former agent showed documents outlining some of his intelligence missions and orders from the Guards, but requested the documents not be published due to fear for his personal security.


(Translated from Arabic by Mustapha Ajbaili)

I was deceived in the beginning by slogans that the Islamic Republic of Iran was defending Islam

Former spy