Suspected Iranian Spy Charged With Espionage, Aiding Enemy in War

Ali Mansouri gave Iran intel on airport security in Israel, photos of U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, indictment says.

Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
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Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

The state prosecution filed charges Sunday against Ali Mansouri, 55, who is suspected of spying on Israel for Iran.

Mansouri, who was born in the Iranian city of Shahrood and has both Iranian and Belgian citizenship, was recruited last year by Iranian intelligence services in an effort to harm Israel, the charge sheet states. It says Mansouri came to Israel three times and actively and consistently tried to start a company in Israel that would serve as a fictitious business infrastructure for the purpose of activity undertaken by another person from Iranian intelligence who was supposed to come to Israel in the future.

Mansouri, who was traveling as Alex Mans, a Belgian businessman selling windows and roofing for stores and restaurants, is being charged with espionage and aiding an enemy in war.

The indictment states that Mansouri met with Iranian intelligence officials many times for briefings on his assignment. After every trip to Israel, he was debriefed by his handlers on his activities in Israel and the progress he was making. According to the indictment, Mansouri passed along information about starting a company in Israel and about security procedures at Ben-Gurion International Airport such as security checks and the kinds of questions asked, as well as photographs of the airport, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and a classified security installation.

The third and final time Mansouri entered Israel was on September 6. He was traveling on his Belgian passport, having left his Iranian passport in Belgium. During his time in Israel, he had sought to sign a business contract with Israeli customers. Mansouri was arrested September 11 in Ben-Gurion Airport as he attempted to leave the country.

Shin Bet officials said Mansouri told them he was asked to spy on Israel in early 2012 and was promised about $1 million to do so, although when he was first arrested he denied any connection to Iran and insisted he was merely a Belgian businessman with no ulterior motives in visiting Israel.

Mansouri studied at Istanbul University and speaks several languages, including Persian, French, English and Turkish, according to the charge sheet. In 2005 he married a Belgian woman and was awarded Belgian citizenship. He got divorced in 2006, after becoming a citizen. The same year, he legally changed his name to Alex Mans, according to the indictment.

Mansouri owns companies in Iran, Belgium and Turkey that deal with pneumatic tools and folding glass doors and walls.

Ali Mansouri sits between guards at the Petah Tikva court on September 30.Credit: AFP

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