Secretive intelligence agencies were desperately “spying” on Iran, the country’s foreign minister claimed after revealing he has shocking proof that top-secret nuclear meetings were hacked, Express reports. The extraordinary claims were made by the top official when he revealed extreme measures the Iranian Government has adopted to keep high-level conversations private.
“When nuclear talks were underway, my mobile phone was as hot as an iron on some days during the negotiations, and other negotiators share the same problem. Such events show a lot of efforts are being made to spy on our domestic issues,” Javad Zarif said.
In 2015 Iran held a number of discussions on reducing its nuclear capacity in return for a reduction of international sanctions. The new claims imply that the negotiations were not carried out in good faith by all those involved. However, Zarif said spying on Iran was not unusual and that the Government was now attempting to fight the extent of the spy activity.
“Sometimes we ask how many spy agencies are seeking to encroach upon our system. In fact, we take spying for granted and focus on the number of times that spying attempts are made,” he said.
The Government Minister did not say which secret services he believed were targeting the country, however, the country has seen diplomatic relations with a number of countries freeze over in recent years.
Tensions in the Middle East have grown between Saudi Arabia and Iran as the pair are locked in a war of words as a power struggle grips the region. At the same time, the country’s relations with the U.S. have deteriorated since Donald Trump became President and threatened to pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Trump has argued the Iran nuclear agreement is too lenient and has called for tougher sanctions to be imposed on the state.
Zarif said extra protection was now being taken by his department to stop foreign agencies hacking their resources.
“I don’t use VPN [Virtual Private Network] apps. Due to its duties and responsibilities, the Foreign Ministry has special internet facilities. Naturally, using VPN applications is coupled with security threats,” he said.
VPN allows computers to share information across websites such as Facebook and YouTube.
“When nuclear talks were underway, my mobile phone was as hot as an iron on some days during the negotiations, and other negotiators share the same problem. Such events show a lot of efforts are being made to spy on our domestic issues,” he added.
The nuclear deal, Zarif said, is based on mutual pessimism. “Because an agreement written based on optimism wouldn’t be so voluminous,” he said.
According to FARS News Agency, Iran has identified and arrested several spies working for foreign intelligence agencies. Tehran’s Public and Revolution Courts Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announced last Saturday that Iranian security forces have detained a number of suspects “collecting classified intelligence in strategic fields,” FARS reports.
The news agency also quotes deputy head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Counter Intelligence Organization Brigadier General Hassan Emami saying last Wednesday that certain foreign spy agencies were seeking to infiltrate the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and its Aerospace Force.
“The foreign spy agencies are after gathering intelligence, hiring spies and infiltrating sensitive fields, research centers, the IRGC Aerospace Force, Quds Force and other centers,” Emami said.
In a crackdown of spooks operating in the country, the Middle East power have also arrested several people accused of working for foreign intelligence agencies. Tehran’s Public and Revolution Courts Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi has vowed to stamp out those “collecting classified intelligence in strategic fields”.
“The foreign spy agencies are after gathering intelligence, hiring spies and infiltrating sensitive fields, research centers, the IRGC Aerospace Force, Quds Force and other centers,” he said.