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. Iran probing four suspected nuclear spies, judiciary says
TEHRAN (AFP) Dec 07, 2004
Iran's judiciary said on Tuesday it was investigating four people suspected of spying on the Islamic republic's nuclear programme, contradicting reports that their trial had already begun.

"The trial of the nuclear spies will probably take place in secret after the end of the investigation," judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-Rad told the student news agency ISNA.

His comments were confirmed on state television by Abbas Ali Alizadeh, the head of Tehran's justice department.

On November 18, Ali Mobacheri, the head of Tehran's revolutionary courts, told the government newspaper Iran that the trials had already begun.

He said the accused had "infiltrated nuclear facilities" and "were spying for foreign countries".

The accused have not been identified, and officials have also not specified for which countries they were allegedly spying. But the paper said that "in the past these individuals also spied for Iraq".

In August, Iran's Intelligence Minister Ali Yunessi announced the arrest of a number of "spies" who sent information on Iran's nuclear programme to foreigners.

He said the People's Mujahedeen, an armed opposition group based in Iraq that the regime in Tehran labels as "hypocrites", had played the central role in the espionage.

The group's political wing, the National Council for Resistance in Iran, in 2002 revealed two nuclear sites Iran had been hiding, including a uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz.

Last month the group alleged Iran was hiding a uranium enrichment facility in Tehran and aimed at getting the atomic bomb next year.

The group also said the father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan who has admitted to running an international nuclear smuggling network, delivered bomb designs and weapons-grade highly enriched uranium to Iran.

Iran insists that its nuclear activities are purely peaceful.

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