Spy v. Spy in Iran

While Ahmadinejad would have you believe that internally everything is hunky dory, and the only problems Iran has are with the meddling West, an August 23 shoot-out between two different intelligence units whose interests are at odds, indicates otherwise.

As per a DEBKAfile exclusive, members of the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) clashed with plain clothes members of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) outside a luxury high-rise building in Northern Tehran’s most exclusive neighborhood, Shaid Babee, or Mini City.

Of course, the Iranian government hushed up the scuffle, given the internal weaknesses and suspicions it gives evidence to. Despite the regime’s best efforts, though, it is becoming well known that the IRGC, who head up Iran’s nuclear program, suspect highly ranked Iranian politicians of selling/trading Iran’s nuclear secrets to Western intelligence agencies, in return for favors. On the flip side, MOIS is furious about the rumors that Ahmadinejad’s nearest and dearest are not absolutely respectful of and faithful to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

The events that led to the shoot-out are as follows:

Intelligence Ministry agents helped themselves into the luxury apartment of an IRGC officer. They found bugs and other spy surveillance gadgets hooked up in the apartment as well as in others that they searched in the building. Just as they were leaving, with the items found in hand, they were blocked by men in civilian clothing, who tried to pry the spy devices from them.

MOIS backed up, secluded themselves in the building and called for more agents. However, their back-up was delayed by more men in plain clothes, who had set up a road-block. Shooting ensued and spread, and it is not known how many casualties were caused by the gunfire.

Eventually MOIS identified IRGC as intelligence – both groups had called in for reinforcements – and then MOIS handed over their loot. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it turns out the intricate surveillance system was installed by a different agency altogether – Shahid Fahmideh – that reports to Ayatollah Khameini and the IRGC’s Nuclear Administration.

Looks like within the world of internal Iranian intelligence, no one trusts each other. Each group thinks the other is passing on the secret sauce (nuclear in nature) to the enemy, in exchange for personal interests, influence and power. Of course, these sorts of internal systemic cracks are the last thing Iran wants leaking from its tightly managed, precarious regime.

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