Iran’s state TV broadcast video of a young man on Sunday it claimed was a CIA spy who sought to infiltrate Iran’s secret services.
The TV identified the man, apparently in his late 20s, as Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, an Iranian-American who received special training and served at US military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for his alleged intelligence mission.
“Their [US intelligence] plan was to initially burn some valuable information, to give it free so that [Iran’s] intelligence ministry would see the good things and then would contact me,” he said in a part of the confession that was broadcast.
The voice of an unnamed announcer on the video said US intelligence was certain that Iran’s secret services would not ignore the data. Therefore, they provided a mix of correct and false information to mislead Iran’s intelligence, but tempt it at the same time.
“Iran’s intelligence apparatus overcame the thirst and detected the deception, identified the intelligence corridors [Hekmati’s alleged link to US intelligence] ... and contained the infiltration mission,” it said.
The TV showed a card with writing in English identifying the bearer as an “army contractor.” It also showed several photographs of the man identified as Hekmati, some of them in military uniform, together with US Army officers.
There was no immediate comment from Washington.
The broadcast said Hekmati was born in Arizona, but was of Iranian descent.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and National Security said its agents identified Hekmati at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Bagram is the main base for US and other international forces outside Kabul.
In the video broadcast on several Iranian TV channels on Sunday, Hekmati was shown saying he entered the US Army after finishing high school in 2001 and received military and intelligence training.
Before beginning his mission to Iran, Hekmati said he served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq for two years. He said his key responsibility was to identify Iraqi politicians sympathetic to the US.
His story could not be independently verified.
Iran periodically announces the capture or execution of alleged US or Israeli spies and often no further information is released.