A scientist Iran branded as an agent for the Israeli secret service Mossad was most likely arrested because he refused to become a spy for the Iranian intelligence organization.
While Iran has been secretive about the identity of the man that it recently sentenced to death, international organizations have revealed his identity as Ahmadreza Djalali.
According to the highly respected Nature magazine, Djalali is an Iranian scientist that “works on improving hospitals’ emergency responses to armed terrorism and radiological, chemical and biological threats.” He worked in prestigious institutions in Italy, Belgium and Sweden and is a resident of Sweden.
Djalali was arrested in April 2016 while on an academic visit in Tehran. He was given 20 days to appeal the sentence.
Nature reports, “A close contact of Djalali’s (who would prefer to remain anonymous) circulated a document that claims to be a literal transcription of a handwritten text produced by Djalali inside Evin prison, where he is being held. The document states that Djalali believes he was arrested for refusing to spy for the Iranian intelligence service.”
Arrest and prosecution for trumped up spy charges are common in the Islamic Republic, as in the case of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter and Tehran bureau chief for the paper, whom Iran arrested in 2014 on spurious spy charges. The Obama administration paid Iran $400 million in cash last January when Iran released four Americans (as well as a fifth person who was unknown to the media) although they denied the money was a payoff for the release of the prisoners, saying instead that it was the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement of an existing claim Iran had against the U.S.
After the payment was made, Iran arrested two more dual Iranian-American citizens as well as dual-nationals from France, Canada and the UK.
While arrests such as these are often carried out for ransom money, Iran is not beyond hanging those it accuses of being spies for Israel or the U.S. In 2013, Iran hanged two men, Mohammad Heidari and Kourosh Ahmadi, who were accused respectively of being spies for the Mossad and the CIA. The trials and arrests of the men were kept secret.
Meanwhile, a new Harvard-Harris survey indicates that 66 percent of Americans believe Iran is not complying with the nuclear deal made in 2015 between Iran and the world powers. Seventy percent believe the deal should be renegotiated and 60 percent said the deal was bad for the U.S.
Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump did not certify the Iran deal as required every three months by law. Further, the president asked Congress to draft legislation to strengthen the deal’s enforcement clauses, prevent Iran from developing intercontinental ballistic missiles and make restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity.
“Fix it, or nix it,” the president said to Congress.
The poll also indicated that 81 percent of Americans think the U.S. Senate should be required to approve any new agreement, like any other treaty.