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Iran spy says Utah state senator was under constant surveillance during visit

First Published      Last Updated Feb 06 2017 10:35 pm

Washington • The Iranian government kept Utah state Sen. Jim Dabakis under constant surveillance during his visit to Tehran last month as part of its mission to ensure "there is not a single hostile move with the purpose of infiltration," the nation's top spy said.

The semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim reported Tuesday that Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi told the Iranian parliament that "all schemes with the aim of making inroads" into the country by outside forces are under the control of the intelligence forces.

Dabakis, an openly gay Democrat from Salt Lake City, visited Iran in mid-September, he says, but there was "nothing nefarious" about the trip. Being gay is a capital crime in Iran, punishable by death.



Asked before parliament about Dabakis' trip, "The minister made it clear that the American politician was kept under surveillance by the intelligence forces during his stay in Iran," the news agency reported.

Dabakis said he was unaware of any surveillance during his trip and said it was discouraging to hear because the goal of his visit was to try to break through the hostility against America.

"My question is you'd think Iranian intelligence would have a better use of their time," Dabakis responded.

Dabakis stressed he had an Iranian visa, obtained through the Pakistan embassy in Washington, and didn't break any laws by going there.

"It wasn't as though I snuck over the border or did anything wrong or incorrect," Dabakis said. "There was no sneakiness. ... I was invited."

tburr@sltrib.com

 

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