Iranian Researcher Accused of Meeting Mossad Agents Confesses to Espionage on State TV

Ahmad Reza Jalali, jailed since April 2016, said that during his studies in a European country, a man he identified as 'Thomas' approached him with a job offer and recruited him to an undisclosed country's foreign intelligence service

A rally on December 14, 2017 at the Iranian embassy in Brussels in support of Ahmadreza Djalali
Virginie Lefour / AFP

Iran's state TV aired a broadcast Sunday in which an Iranian researcher confesses to relaying information to a foreign intelligence service about Iranian nuclear scientists who were later assassinated in 2010.

Ahmad Reza Jalali, in jail since April 2016, said in the report that during his studies in a European country, a man he identified as "Thomas" approached him with a job offer and ultimately recruited him to that country's foreign intelligence service. He added that the service promised to make him a citizen of the country.

He did not name the country, but the broadcast carried images of a Swedish ID card and Rome's Colosseum.

Jalali added that he also worked for Iran's Defense Ministry, and that the foreign intelligence service he worked for had threatened to reveal his dual role if he did not continue to comply with them.

In the report, produced by counter-espionage department of Iran's intelligence ministry, the narrator says Jalili gathered information on physics scientists Masoud Ali Mohammadi and nuclear scientist Majid Shariari who both were assassinated in 2010. He adds that Jalali met with officers from Israel's Mossad intelligence agency abroad over 50 times and received 2,000 Euros per meeting.

Iran executed Majid Jamali Fashi for the assassination of Ali-Mohammadi. Fashi also confessed on Iranian state television, saying he had trained for the operation at a Mossad facility near Tel Aviv.

At least four Iranian scientists were killed between 2010 and 2012. Iran accuses Israel and the United States of plotting the assassinations.

Iran had said in October that a "Mossad agent" it did not name had been sentenced to death, saying the suspect had given the Mossad information about dozens of nuclear and military scientists including Ali-Mohammadi and Shahriari.

Rights groups have condemned the detention of Jalali, saying it follows a pattern of Iran detaining dual nationals indefinitely without due process.

Jalali is a physician and researcher in disaster relief and has worked on several of research projects abroad.