LOD, Israel — An Israeli court sentenced an Iranian-born Belgian to seven years in prison on Tuesday after convicting him of spying for Tehran.
Ali Mansouri was detained at Ben Gurion international airport in September 2013 carrying photographs of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and other sites, according to Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service.
He had been traveling under the alias of Alex Mans. Details of his arrest were initially kept hidden under a gag order, which was eventually lifted.
Mansouri said during questioning that he was promised $1 million in exchange for his activities inside Israel, and described how he was recruited by the special operations unit of the Revolutionary Guards.
At the time, Channel 2 reported that Mansouri claimed he was deprived of sleep and bound to a chair during Shin Bet investigation. However, he said he was not hit or hurt during questioning, the report added.
Mansouri had visited Israel several times and was under surveillance by Israeli intelligence.
According to the Shin Bet, Mansouri, a businessman, was also looking to establish business interests in Israel that could serve as fronts for Iranian intelligence activities in the Jewish state.
The aim was to establish a front behind which the Revolutionary Guards could operate in Israel, against Israel, the media reported in 2013. A subsequent stage would have been to send terrorists to Israel to carry out attacks, they added.
Mansouri left Iran in 1980, lived in Turkey until 1997 and then moved to Belgium on a business visa, where in 2006 he obtained citizenship and changed his name to Alex Mans, the Shin Bet revealed. In 2007, Mansouri returned to Iran and established an international business with interests in Iran, Belgium and Turkey.
One of the companies Mansouri established was called European Folded Glass System, Channel 2 reported. The company’s amateurish website stated proudly that EFGS is “Big Company in Europe,” but was rife with spelling and grammatical errors. Alex Mans was listed as the manager, and a Belgian address and phone number were given on the site.