An ex-Iranian military officer has told Iran International TV that Iranian intelligence used a ‘honey trap’ in a plot to render him from Turkey in September.
The former officer was named as Mehrdad Abdarbashi, a major and air-force helicopter pilot who had been living as an asylum-seeker in Van, eastern Turkey.
Speaking to Iran International via video-link Saturday, Abdarbashi said a woman working for Iranian intelligence contacted him pretending she wanted to learn about foreign currency exchange.
Abdarbashi said he always alerted Turkish intelligence when anyone contacted him and they had bugged the woman’s cell phone and discovered her contact with the Iranian security forces. He said he did not know which intelligence body, the intelligence ministry or the Revolutionary Guards intelligence organization, had sent the "swallow,” as Iranians usually refer to women used to entrap men.
Turkish intelligence tapped her cellphone and found out what was going on.
"Her plan was to lure me to the city's outskirts under some pretext so that they could capture me and take me back to Iran, but I did not consent to go,” Abdarbashi told Iran International.“The Turkish intelligence was well aware of everything. They told me to accept her invitation to dinner [on the night of the operation] and promised to protect me so I accepted.”
Turkish intelligence knew, said Abdarbashi, that Iranian agents had given drugs to the woman to lace his dinner so they could remove him from her home when he fell unconscious, pretending they were taking him to a hospital.
Ankara on Thursday revealed that its National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and police had arrested an Iranian − whom they said was an intelligence operative − and seven Turks September 24 over a plot to abduct an ex-Iranian military officer in Van and render him to Iran but did not give the full name of the alleged victim.
Speaking to Turkey's Türkiye newspaper Saturday, Abdarbashi said he had fled Iran and sought asylum after refusing a mission to Syria.
"I am in a safe place now but obviously my life is still in danger after that foiled [abduction] attempt,” he told Iran International, appealing for help from human rights and international organizations.
In 2019 a honey-trap was allegedly used to Ruhollah Zam, who ran a social-media channel on Telegram, to Iraq where he was abducted by Iranian agents. Zam was executed in December 2020 after confessions aired on state television.