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Dec 17, 2:52 PM EST

Iran's state TV shows researcher confessing to espionage



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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's state TV aired a report on 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 the country's foreign intelligence service. He added that the service promised to make him a citizen of that country.

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

Jalali, a physician and researcher in disaster relief, said that before he left Iran he had worked on a project for Iran's Defence Ministry, which may have been why his recruiters - allegedly officers from Israel's Mossad spy agency posing as European authorities - sought him out.

In the report, produced by the 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 the alleged Mossad agents abroad over 50 times and received 2,000 Euros per meeting.

In 2012, Iran executed Majid Jamali Fashi for the assassination of Ali-Mohammadi. Fashi also confessed on Iranian state television, a year earlier, 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 and expatriates indefinitely without due process.

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