Following warnings that Iran was planning attacks on Israeli citizens in various parts of the world, Thailand’s police have are on high alert to find the Islamic Republic’s agents.
A police source told the Bangkok Post on Monday that the Royal Thai Police (RTP) has issued a secret order to officers across the country to keep an eye out for spies from Iran believed to be in the region after one was arrested in Indonesia last year.
According to the source, security agencies are closely monitoring the movements of Iranian nationals and gathering intelligence about some Shiite Thai Muslims who are suspected to be working as the Islamic Republic’s agents.
The source said the order cited an incident in May last year when Indonesian authorities were tipped off that a man named Ghassem Saberi Gilchalan arrived in the country carrying a fake Bulgarian passport.
He was arrested just before departing for Qatar, and was sentenced to two years in jail. Police found that he entered the country more than 10 times using false papers and had 11 mobile phones with the names of some Thai Muslims saved on them.
Following interrogations, Gilchalan confessed that he had been given several assignments by a former Iranian diplomat in Malaysia to act as a spy both there and in Indonesia several times, the latest of which involved lobbying Indonesian authorities to release the Iranian-flagged MT Horse oil tanker apprehended there January last year.
IRGC colonel Sayys-Khodaei dead in his car after assailants fired five shots. May 22, 2022
In May, an Israeli informed source told Iran International that security measures are tight around the Israeli embassy in the Indian capital New Delhi reportedly over a serious possibility of an attack by Iran-backed elements.
Late in May, President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran will “definitely” take revenge for the spectacular assassination of Revolutionary Guard Qods (Quds) Force colonel Hassan Sayyad-Khodaei in Tehran. Sayyad-Khodaei, who Israeli media say was the acting commander of an elite Qods Force unit, Unit 840, was shot dead behind the wheel of his car by two gunmen who fled the scene on a motorbike.
A few days later, Fars news website in Iran affiliated with the IRGC published an article profiling several Israeli businesspeople, using thinly veiled threatening language.
Moreover, conflicting reports are still circulating about the death of Iranian aerospace scientist Ayoob Entezari -- who held a PhD in mechanical and aerospace engineering -- with some calling it an assassination and government saying he died of food poisoning.
Reports about Entezari’s fate came a day after Iran confirmed the death of a colonel from the Quds Force, Ali Esmailzadeh of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iranian government and IRGC media said that Col. Esmailzadeh died “in an incident in recent days” at his home without mentioning any details after Iran International quoted sources in Iran as saying that the IRGC killed him over suspicions of espionage.
Last week, Israel issued a warning to citizens traveling or planning to travel to Turkey that they could be targeted by Iranian operatives seeking to avenge the recent assassination. The National Security Council explicitly identified “Iranian terrorist operatives” as being the source of the threat to Israelis in Turkey and nearby countries. Israel’s Channel 12 news reported on Sunday that Israel is considering expanding the travel warning to additional countries.
Early in May, a short audio recording was published by Israeli media with a photo of a man introduced as Iranian national Mansour Rasouli, 52. In the audio recording, Rasouli says he was sent to Turkey by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to establish an operational network to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in Istanbul, a Germany-based US general, and a journalist in France.
Later in May, Israel’s security agency Shin Bet uncovered an alleged plot by Iranian intelligence to lure Israeli academics and former defense officials to travel abroad in order to kidnap them. The Iranian operatives used the stolen identities and relevant cover stories in an attempt to gather intelligence about Israelis and to invite them to locations abroad -- some under the guise of a conference -- in order to abduct or harm them.