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Doctors among US-backed coup plotters: Iran

January 20, 2009

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TEHRAN, Jan 19: Iran said on Monday that two doctors jailed since June were among a group convicted of a ‘US-backed plot to overthrow’ the government by creating social upheaval, Fars news agency reported.

“Among the four key elements arrested in this case there were two doctors named Arash and Kamiar Alaei,” said the counter-espionage director at Iran’s intelligence ministry, who was not named.

“Four people in this case who have been confronted were key elements who knowingly cooperated with US intelligence people in the region and fully implemented their demands,” the official said.

The two brothers, who have been in jail since June, were known for their pioneering work in HIV/AIDS. Iran announced last week the group had been sentenced to undisclosed jail terms.

“People such as (US Undersecretary of State) William Burns, (Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs) Goli Ameri, (US official) Ramin Asgar and some other people linked with the US intelligence service in the region had a direct involvement in this project,” the official charged, claiming the United States had spent $32 million on the plot.

The intelligence official said the group sought to “incite social crises, organise street rallies and interfere in ethnic issues.”

The Iranian judiciary recently disclosed details on a series

of cases involving charges against opposition groups, including those said to have links abroad.

Tehran accuses Washington and London of backing violent and non-violent actions against the state.

“The United States sought to create a network inside Iran under cover of academic work and wanted to pursue a ‘colour revolution’ by connecting with the elite and effective people,” the security official said.

Iran’s academics, clerics, artists, doctors and athletes were targeted and invited to US trips for meetings.

During these visits, “Americans sought to portray the US as the only saviour of Iran so they would pressure officials back home and create a gap between people and officials,” he said.

US officials asked the visitors to connect others to the network in an “inverse pyramid model”, he said.

American institutions such as the Wilson Centre, Soros’ Open Society Institute and the US-based International Research and Exchanges Board (Irex) were also involved in the project, the official said.—AFP