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Tehran’s Spy Arrested in Sweden: A Grim Reminder of Rooted Terrorism in Europe


Swedish newspapers, including Aftonbladet and Expressen, reported that a former Swedish security police chief had been arrested for spying on behalf of the Iranian regime between 2011 and 2015. His arrest once again highlights the need for a joint-European action to address the Iranian regime’s terrorism. As identified by local and Persian language websites, the arrested spy is Peyman Kia, 40 years old. He had obtained Swedish citizenship and worked as a director in the Swedish Security Police (SPO) and an analyst in a Swedish military organization while he was spying for Tehran.

Kia was arrested on Monday. On Thursday, the court decided to order detention for this person on charges of grossly and unlawfully abusing his position as someone with access to classified information and violating national security to avoid him destroying documents or escaping. The arrested person is accused of espionage for reasonable reasons, the Swedish Security Service said in a statement. His arrest comes a month after the arrest of an Iranian couple, who had obtained refugee status in Sweden by presenting a false Afghan identity. They were the agents of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).

In February 2021, a court in Antwerp, Belgium, condemned Assadollah Assadi and his three accomplices to nearly 70 years of prison for attempting to bomb the Iranian opposition’s rally in 2018 in France. Assadi was a Vienna-based diplomat-terrorist who had used his diplomatic privileges to smuggle 500 grams of the TATP explosives to Europe and handed over to his two operatives, Amir Sadouni and Nasimeh Na’ami. Sadoun and Na’ami, along with another operative, Mehrdad Arefani, had obtained Belgian citizenship and posed as supporters of the Iranian opposition movement.

Assadi’s trial and conviction once again highlighted what the Iranian Resistance had said for years: the regime’s embassies and diplomats are promoting terrorism and espionage. During Assadi’s trial, the authorities in Germany, where Assadi was arrested in 2018, opened another case about a network of terrorism and espionage he had managed across Europe. The German officials found a notebook in Assadi’s car with important information about the 2018 bomb plot, Assadi’s actions travel, and the amounts of money he had given to different operatives.

The Iranian Resistance has specific information of the Iranian regime’s sleeper cells across Europe, which Assadi commanded. The Iranian regime’s MOIS has a network of agents in Europe supported by the regime’s embassies that misuse their diplomatic facilities. Assadollah Assadi was at the head of the Iranian regime’s intelligence network in Europe,” Mr. Javad Dabiran, the deputy director of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) representative office in Germany, told Al-Arabiya on January 22. “40% and specifically 144 out of 289 meetings of Assadi with his agents were held in Germany. This implies two things. First, a large part of [the regime’s] network is located in Germany, and Germany is the scene of the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities,” Mr. Dabiran added.

On the eve of Assadi’s conviction, another plot of the MOIS against the Iranian Resistance in Germany was revealed. The regime had tried to persuade Iranians residing in Germany to spy on the NCRI’s office in Germany and Javad Dabiran, then receive “good money.”
The recent arrest of another spy in Sweden, holding a top security position, is the most recent in chains to arresting the regime’s spies in Europe. It also implies how rooted the regime’s espionage network is in Europe, overshadowed by the European leader’s persistence on the failed appeasement policy toward Tehran.

In July 2017, Ali Fallahian, the former head of the MOIS, acknowledged in an interview how the regime’s agents work under many covers in Europe. “The ministry needs cover for its works to collect information both inside the country and outside. Obviously, we don’t send an agent to Germany or America and, for example, say, ok, I am an agent of the information ministry, and I am here to collect information, please give that to me. He would work under cover of business or other jobs, including reporters. You know many of our reporters are the MOIS agents,” Falahian said.

As revealed during Assadi’s trial, the Iranian regime is involved in terrorism at top levels. On April 28, 2021, the regime’s then-president Hassan Rouhani confirmed the regime’s Supreme National Security Council takes all decisions regarding Tehran’s malign activities.
“All the complex issues of foreign policy and the field of defense are discussed in the Supreme National Security Council, whether when we want to [carry out] a defensive operation and whether when we have to carry out an offensive operation somewhere or whether when we want to undertake an important political task,” Rouhani acknowledged.
Before Rouhani, his Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who oversaw the 2018 bombing plot led by Assadi in Europe, acknowledged how his Ministry is entirely involved in terrorism and espionage in a leaked audiotape.

“Most of our Foreign Ministry ambassadors have a security structure. Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been facing security issues since it began operating. The Foreign Ministry’s agenda has been a political-security agenda since the beginning of the revolution. In the 1990s, they closed down the Ministry’s economic directorate and instead created regional directors whose tendencies were more political and security-related,” Zarif said. The European officials should take the recent arrest of another spy in Sweden seriously and consider it a mounting threat of terrorism from the regime.

Unfortunately, the European leaders are more concerned about keeping the dialogue with the Terrorist regime in Tehran. This comes when the regime’s new government does not have the “moderate” façade anymore. The new Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has been considered a “field agent” and is a known member of the terrorist “Quds Force.” Yet, the EU leaders, particularly Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, did not lose the chance of meeting and praising Amir-Abdollahian and the terrorist regime he represents during the recent United Nations General Assembly.

The EU leaders should adopt a firm policy toward the regime. Appeasing this regime would only embolden it to continue its terrorist activities. As the Iranian Resistance has reiterated, the EU should close down the regime’s embassies and expel its agents operating in the European Union under various pretexts. This would certainly increase the security of the EU’s citizens.