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Sistani-Backed Iranian Spy Ring Sought Foothold in Mecca - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A digital photo of Asharq Al-Awsat issue announcing the capture of Iranian Spy-ring

A digital photo of Asharq Al-Awsat issue announcing the capture of Iranian Spy-ring

Riyadh- Security investigations with the allegedly Iranian spy cell in Saudi Arabia revealed the double agents’ contact with the religious Shi’ite Marja’ (religious reference) Ali al-Sistani. Interaction with al-Sistani was among the lines of establishing a Shi’ite center in Mecca. Spy numbers were increasing at the holy capital of Saudi Arabia, and the sum of Iranian spies reached to 24 employees, all assigned to diplomatic positions in the Kingdom.

Informed Saudi sources gave details to Asharq Al-Awsat on the Iranian embassy in Riyadh, consulate in Jeddah, and the Iranian representative at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) all having a hand in the spy mission. The mentioned bodies have supported the spy ring network. Multiple meetings were held at conspicuous places such as the domiciles or cars of the agents.

Sources also state that Iranian intelligence services have allotted large chunks of cash for the operation, as well as monthly paid salaries for the double agents. Rent and utility expenses were all within Iranian providing.

Iranian intelligence has taken upon themselves to coordinate meetings for the spies in Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Malaysia, and China. It is also worth mentioning that Iran’s intelligence services have arranged for the spies to gain an audience with the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The spy ring used foreign currency to cash in bribes sent to the undercover agents in Saudi Arabia. An economic analyst, working at one of the Saudi banks, helped Iranian intelligence with the money swindle process conveyed by currency deception. Currency was changed from the Iranian Riyal to Saudi Riyal, and moved to Tehran, packed in bags held by diplomatic agents working at the Iranian embassy in Riyadh.

Sources clarified that one of the 30-Saudi, an Iranian, and an Afghani composed spy ring is a Saudi citizen who is a 45-aged man devoted to religious studies. The 45-year-old had met, in Iran, international enlisted terrorists wanted for involvement in the attack on a U.S. military residential compound in Khobar-Saudi Arabia in 1996. Among those wanted are Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Yacoub, Abdelkarim Al-Nasser,Abu-Jafar Mohammed al-Hussein ( known as Mohammed Al-Sayegh), and Ahmed Al-Mughassil.