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The Israeli government announced on Sunday that it had captured someone that they claim is an Iranian spy. The alleged spy was reportedly photographing various landmarks, including the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. The suspect, Ali Mansouri, was initially detained on September 11th while attempting to board a flight out of the country.

The capture comes at an auspicious time for Israel, whose leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is supposed to address the United Nations this coming week. According to The Washington Post, Netanyahu "is expected to argue that Iran cannot be trusted and that stiff economic sanctions should remain in place until it agrees to curtail its nuclear program." Claiming that Iran was spying on U.S. embassies would undoubtedly help such a cause, but all of the news about Mansouri is coming from one source: the Israeli government.

According to Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, Mansouri had travelled to the country three times in the past 15 months, hoping to set up a front for covert operations. Mansouri supposedly answers to Iran's Quds Force, which in turn answers directly to the Ayatollah. (Israel currently holds the Quds Force responsible for a terrorist attack that took place in Delhi in early 2012.)  Mansouri holds both Belgian and Iranian citizenships.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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