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Spy drama meets real-life espionage on the set of TV hit ‘Tehran’

Show creator Moshe Zonder says an Iranian spy sent an Israeli woman he controlled to audition during show’s first season

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Kan 11's 'Tehran,' also screening on Apple TV in 2022, is a fictional drama that even Iranian spies are following (Courtesy AppleTV)
Kan 11's 'Tehran,' also screening on Apple TV in 2022, is a fictional drama that even Iranian spies are following (Courtesy AppleTV)

Israeli drama “Tehran,” currently in its second season on Apple TV, has the feel of a ripped-from-the-headlines show, with a storyline that closely follows the news.

As it turns out, the spy drama made Iranian intelligence suspicious as well, according to show creator Moshe Zonder.

Zonder, speaking to Army Radio show host Yaron Zelensky, said the producers suspected that Iranian spies were on the “Tehran” set in Athens during filming of the first season.

“Now we know,” said Zonder. “It was during the case of four Jewish women of Iranian descent, who were recruited by an Iranian spy claiming to be Jewish, and he sent one of the women to audition for the series.”

Related: In questioning, women in Iran espionage case insist they had no sinister intentions

The woman didn’t pass the audition, said Zonder in the interview, which aired last week.

“They know about the show, and they look at us and pay attention,” he said of the Iranians.

Iranian-born viewers don’t always believe the show is filmed in Athens, either, said Zonder. He’s often questioned by Israelis of Iranian descent about where they filmed, he said, telling him that they recognize a certain street or neighborhood.

“They tell me, ‘I grew up there!'” said Zonder.

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