Iranian Blogger Questioned After Being Granted Asylum by Israel

Israel questioned an Iranian blogger it had previously granted asylum to, on suspicions of illegal communication with Iran, an Israeli official said on Friday.

Neda Amin, the blogger, was admitted in Israel in August on humanitarian grounds. Israel stated that she would be forcefully repatriated to Iran where she would be at risk due to her writings for an Israeli news site.

Israeli law bans contact with the military or similar state agencies of its enemy Iran, as well as visits to family members in Iran as a result of Shin Bet concerns that Tehran could recruit Iranian Jews, traveling to the country, as spies.

Amin, 33, was questioned by the Shin Bet security service, which issued a statement saying the blogger communicated with ‘’Iranian representatives’’ after moving to Israel. An Israeli security official said the people Amin communicated with were not part of her family and added that she was not under arrest.

‘’Whether there is a (criminal) case here is still being investigated,’’ the official said, according to Reuters.

The blogger later said she believed the person she was communicating with to be an Israeli intelligence agent, but her Shin Bet interrogators informed Amin the person was in fact an Iranian government operative.

Amin explained that a Farsi-speaking man had called her in Turkey, saying he was an Israeli intelligence officer who wanted to “protect” her from Ankara’s security services. She added that the two stayed in touch after she moved to Israel and that whenever the man phoned his number came up on her screen with an Israeli prefix.

‘’They told me I am innocent as I have been in touch with an impostor, without knowing it. I have spoken to this man, but I have done nothing against Israel’s security,’’ Amin said.