Following are excerpts from an interview with Iranian Minister of Intelligence Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei, which aired on Channel 2, Iranian TV on August 28, 2007:
Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei: With God's grace, the Ministry of Intelligence, by increasing its surveillance and activities, and by spreading its intelligence network, has succeed in identifying the enemy's new initiatives and plans. It has completely exposed the enemy's activities, plans, and new modes of operation, which were intended to topple [the regime], and especially its new tactics and methods. In this matter, we have made great strides, and we hope that in the coming months, the enemy's new methods and plots to topple [the regime] will be revealed to the public.
The enemy identifies various people, and uses them in two different ways. Some of them are used as spies, in order to obtain classified information and information about the regime's resolutions, which can benefit the enemy. The other method employed by the enemy is to identify people, to make friends with them, and even to supply them with information. The enemy recruits these people to serve its purposes, to serve as its mouthpiece, and to implement its goals in Iran.
Interviewer: By "enemy," do you mean just the CIA and the Mossad?
Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei: No. As you know, although our main enemy is the Great Satan – America and the Zionists – they are not the only ones.
There are two or three groups [of agents]. One group was only in its first stages of operation, and the Intelligence Ministry tried to open the eyes of these citizens and to help them, and bring them back from the path they took – whether they took it consciously or not. We dedicated much time to this. We summoned them to the Intelligence Ministry or its different branches, and at times we even went to their workplace or elsewhere, and we warned them of the consequences of the path they chosen. We told them that they were working for the enemy, and that [we know] that they had just started with this, and that some of them may have taken these first steps unknowingly. They were very happy and grateful. Now, they may be serving [the regime] better than they did before they fell into the enemy's trap.
Of course, some people went even further, and may have even committed treason against their country and homeland. We spoke to these people as well, and summoned them for questioning according to the judicial procedure. We tried to refrain from sending them to jail. Some of these people went even further than that, and their treason is obvious and clear. According to our evidence, these people could not be brought back on track with words alone. We had no choice but to arrest them and to bring them to trial. Some of them were even convicted, and were sentenced to long periods in jail, or even to execution. Others got shorter prison terms, and they are currently serving their sentences. Even now, if they are ready to make amends for their treason, to return to the bosom of their country and nation, and to apologize, we will be willing to help them and release them from jail.
We have taken measures with regard to 2 or 3 cases of espionage in western [Iran]. These people transferred quite valuable intelligence to the enemy, and cooperated closely with the Americans. We seized them, and they are now in prison. Last year, we identified many people, in connection with our nuclear affairs and other issues.
We even managed to turn some of them into double [agents]. We actually did this. This is one of the things in which the enemy is at a loss. It doesn't know who works for them and who works for us.
Interviewer: Did Haleh Esfandiari and Kayan Tajbaksh name any specific contacts of theirs?
Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei: Yes, but unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to mention them.