Austrian Capital 'Filled with Iranian Spies'.

Author:Handley, John
Position:Vienna, Austria

By Benjamin Weinthal, Research Fellow, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

The title of this short article made available by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies contains the essence of the piece. That there are Iranian spies, that is agents of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security or MOIS), operating within and from Vienna is not all that surprising. The author's main concern seems to be that Austria in particular and the Western European countries in general are doing little if anything to prevent Iran from sending its agents to Vienna.

One should note that some of these agents have been arrested and convicted while many have not. What the author does not seem to understand is that the Austrian and other Western intelligence agencies do a reasonably good job of keeping tabs on these Iranian agents. One reason for not arresting them is to try to "vet" the agent as a possible asset. The U.S. and other intelligence services are not able to travel to Iran to recruit; however, having Iranians come to Western countries gives these agencies varying degrees of access in an effort to ascertain if any one of them is susceptible to some form of inducement, such as getting a family out of Iran, providing a stable and secure life in the West, money, or even...

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