Mansouri accused as spy helper, not spy himself.
Israeli prosecutors filed formal charges Sunday against Ali Mansouri, providing a few more details about his alleged spying inside Israel for Iran.
Mansouri, 55, was born in Shahrood and holds both Iranian and Belgian citizenship.
The charge sheet says Mansouri came to Israel three times "and actively and consistently tried to start a company in Israel that would serve as a fictitious business infrastructure for the purpose of activity undertaken by another person from Iranian intelligence who was supposed to come to Israel in the future."
In other words, it asserts Mansouri was not himself to be the principal spy, but to provide the cover and arrangements for someone else. That was a major change from the news reports last week immediately after his arrest.
The indictment said Mansouri--who traveled under his legal Belgian name of Alex Mans--met with Iranian intelligence officials many times for briefings on his assignment. After each trip to Israel, he flew to Tehran and was debriefed by his handlers on his activities in Israel and the progress he was making.
According to the indictment, Mansouri passed along information about starting a company in Israel and about security procedures at Ben-Gurion International Airport such as security checks and the kinds of questions asked, as well as photographs of the airport, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and a classified security installation that the indictment did not name.
The third and final time Mansouri entered Israel was September 6. He was traveling on his Belgian passport, having left his Iranian passport in Belgium. During his time in Israel, he sought to sign a business contract with Israeli customers. Mansouri was arrested September 11 at Ben-Gurion Airport as he attempted to leave the country.
Officials of Shin Bet, Israel's domestic security police, said earlier that Mansouri told them he was asked to spy on Israel in early 2012 and was promised about $1 million to do so.
Mansouri studied at Istanbul University and speaks several languages, including Persian, French, English and Turkish, according to the charge sheet.
In 2005, he married a Belgian woman and was then awarded Belgian citizenship. He got divorced in 2006, after becoming a citizen. The same year, he legally changed his name to Alex Mans, according to the indictment. Later, he married an Iranian woman who lives in Tehran.
The indictment gave no hint as to how Shin Bet first became suspicious of Mansouri and began tracking him. There is a possibility that Belgian police became suspicious and alerted Israel.