Brigadier General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Ali Naseri has been arrested in Iran on suspicion of spying for Israel, according to The New York Times. Sources of the publication note that the fact of the arrest of the military leader responsible for the security of the data is kept secret.
The article, one of the authors of which is Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, notes that dozens of people involved in rocket development were arrested earlier by Iranian special services. They are suspected of passing classified data to foreign intelligence. Iranian officials declined to comment on these reports.
The publication quotes the former first vice-president of Iran, Mohammad Ali Abtahi. The politician, who is considered a representative of the reformist camp, lost his post in 2009 after the suppression of opposition speeches. However, he retains close ties to the establishment.
Recalling the resignation of the head of intelligence of the IRGC, General Hossein Tayeb, Abtahi states: the purge was the result of daring operations attributed to the Israeli special services. The head of the regime realized that the old, proven personnel could not give an answer to them, and it was time to change the concept.
“Problems with security inside Iran and the scale of Israeli operations have undermined the most powerful intelligence organization in Iran. The reliability of the intelligence services was the basis of the security of the Islamic Republic. In the last year, the situation has changed,” Abtahi said.
The newspaper writes that the reason for the chaos in the IRGC was a change in Israeli methodology: the “octopus concept” put forward by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The head of government decided to abandon the fight against the “tentacles” – groups associated with Iran – and focused on hitting the “head” – decision-making centers in Iran itself. This strategy took Iran by surprise.
However, it should be noted that this is not the first time that the arrest of General Naseri has been reported in the media. In 2019, information spread about his involvement in the Mossad’s kidnapping of the Iranian nuclear dossier. The IRGC called these reports a blatant lie designed to discredit the corps in the eyes of citizens.