Report: Israel was involved in discussions for release of Moore-Gilbert

Sydney Morning Herald: Discussions to release Australian academic from Iran were also held with the Israeli government

Arutz Sheva ,

Tehran
Tehran
ISTOCK

The Sydney Morning Herald presented information about the secret mission to bring jailed Australian academic Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert home from Iran.

The report reminded that the Iranian authorities had detained the Australian university lecturer after discovering she was in a relationship with an Israeli citizen, sparking baseless claims that she was a spy for Israel.

According to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian government played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in bringing Thailand to the table and engineering the prisoner swap deal that has allowed Dr Moore-Gilbert to be released.

The report says that the complicated prisoner-swap deal - which Prime Minister Scott Morrison repeatedly declined to confirm on Thursday - involved high-level negotiations with the Thai government.

Multiple senior government and diplomatic sources confirmed to The Sydney Morning Herald that Dr Moore-Gilbert was detained in Iran in 2018 after authorities found out her partner was Israeli.

The Iranians stopped Moore-Gilbert at a Tehran airport while she was leaving the country after attending an academic conference in 2018. Following llegations that she was working as a spy for Israel, she was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for espionage.

Australian government sources, who asked not to be named as they had not been authorised to discuss the negotiations, said toThe Sydney Morning Herald that it had taken more than six months of at-times delicate discussions to put the deal together.

According to the report, Foreign Minister Marise Payne was central to the "quiet diplomacy" strategy of intense negotiations and the inclusion of third party governments in the talks. She met her Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, four times over the past two years and raised Dr Moore-Gilbert's case on each occasion.

Iran requested to free three Iranian men who were detained in Thailand on charges of having planned to bomb the capital, Bangkok, in 2012 - probably inending to target Israeli diplomats.

The request led the Australian government to approach Thailand to help with arrange a prisoner swap.

According to the report, Thailand agreed to the deal after months of high-level negotiations.

The Sydney Morning Herald says that discussions were also held with the Israeli government.



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