Foreign Ministry reasons away spy in nuclear team claims 

August 31, 2016 - 21:27

TEHRAN – The Iranian Foreign Ministry has snubbed allegations by critics of the nuclear deal who keep saying there has been a spy in the country’s nuclear negotiations team.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Baidinejad tried to reason away the allegations as “hasty” and “misinformed” in a message he published on Telegram on Wednesday.

The allegations are made to imply that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is faulty in structure, the diplomat noted, adding, “This approach seems a bit naïve since the process of the nuclear talks was more complicated than to allow a fault to the JCPOA even if such claims were true.”

Numerous accounts emerged in Iran in the past few weeks over the arrest of one of the country’s nuclear negotiators, one contradicting the other.

A recent such account was that the arrest is true and the arrestee is a dual citizen who, other than being active in economy in both the private and governmental sectors, was “the head of one of the key committees of the negotiation team and the representative of a financial organization in the team,” Nasim Online news agency reported August 24.

 “The claims more than anything point the finger of accusation at Iran’s security organizations since the mentioned person has worked for decades as Iran’s representative in international legal disputes… such as legal debates in The Hague over disputes over arms deals between Iran and the US… so all the while he has escaped the notice of security and intelligence organizations, which is a blatant insult of these organizations,” Baidinejad states in his commentary.

He goes on to note that Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani was the representative of the banking system in the nuclear team, adding that the Foreign Ministry had no role in appointing representative in the team.

“Tens of people from numerous organizations accompanied the Iranian nuclear negotiations team. Their qualification is not the province of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs… appointing the people is the duty of their respective organizations and, at critical times, the official security and intelligence organizations of the country.”

On August 22, the Foreign Ministry said “the arrest of one of the members of the Committee on the Implementation of the JCPOA is completely false,” but on the same day, Deputy Editor of Fars news Agency for Research Yasser Jebraili wrote on Telegram that the arrested man was named Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, the banking head of the nuclear negotiation team who holds a second nationality of Britain. The journalist said Esfahani was arrested “on charges of espionage.”

Nasim Online added that the man was charged, among other things, of “receiving money from American and British institutes in return for important financial and economic information of the Islamic Republic.”

These come at a time when Esfahani spoke over the telephone with Bank Mardom website on August 24, calling the reports “laughable,” and adding, “Now that I am speaking to you I am at the Central Bank and am not arrested.”

In the meantime, Javad Karimi Qoddusi, a rightist MP, said the arrestee had been returned to Iran last week when he was accompanying Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Turkey without having set foot on the Turkish soil.

Qoddusi’s remarks were refuted as “baseless claim, insubstantial, impertinent, sheer lie, and false statement,” on August 24 by Foreign Ministry spokesman Qassem Bahrami.

Esfahani had in June introduced himself as banking and financial member to Iran’s nuclear negotiation team.


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