Media outlets affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have released an audio file in which Brigadier General Ali Nasiri denies “rumors” about his arrest on charges of espionage. 

The audio interview with Hawza News, the news agency of Qom’s seminaries, was released on Friday in reaction to a Wednesday report by the New York Times claiming that Naseri was arrested a month ago on charges of spying for Israel. 

He said in the file that he is doing his job despite the allegations but did not mention where in the IRGC he is serving since he was removed from his post at the Guard’s counter-intelligence unit. The fact that there is no video footage of him or any recent reports about his activities as part of the IRGC, strengthens the speculations that he may be in fact in detention as Iran is notorious for extracting confessions and statements under duress.

The Times described Nasiri as “a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guard’s Protection of Information Unit, tasked with oversight and supervision of the organization’s work,” although the paper sourced this to an April 21, 2019 story from Radio Farda that Naseri had been replaced in that position. The Iranian Students News Agency also reported at the time that Naseri had been removed.

There had been suggestions at the time that Nasiri had fled the country, with the Washington Free Beacon claiming he had defected to an Arab state in the Persian Gulf taking with him secret documents. 

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