An Iranian agent was arrested in Israel on September 11. The arrest was under a gag order for several days, but has now been cleared for publication.
The detainee is a 55-year-old Belgian citizen who goes by the name Alex Mans. He was arrested by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, and the Israel Police as he attempted to leave the country.
The suspect also has Iranian citizenship, and his original name was Ali Mansouri. He lived in Iran until 1980, and then moved to Turkey, where he lived until 1997. Since 2007, he traveled between Iran, Turkey and Belgium, and married an Iranian citizen.
A Shin Bet investigation revealed that he was sent to Israel by Iran’s intelligence services. He has confessed to working on behalf of Iran during his visits to Israel.
Contacted by Iranian intelligence years ago, he first received an explicit offer to spy on Israel on Iran's behalf in early 2012. Mansouri was working with a "special operations unit of the Revolutionary Guards responsible for numerous terrorist attacks around the world," Shin Bet sources said.
Mans had made two previous trips to Israel, one in July 2012, and one in January 2013. Both visits are believed to have been conducted with guidance from his Iranian handlers. He was promised $1 million for his work.
He presented his visits as business trips, and met with businesspeople in Tel Aviv in an attempt to forge long-term business ties in the country. In the meetings with Israeli businesspeople, Mans/Mansouri presented himself as a Belgian businessman selling windows.
He was discovered to have pictures of several sites in Israel, including the building of the United States embassy in Tel Aviv.