Iran has trained secret networks of agents across the Gulf states to attack Western interests and incite civil unrest in the event of a military strike against its nuclear programme, a former Iranian diplomat has told The Sunday Telegraph.
Spies working as teachers, doctors and nurses at Iranian-owned schools and hospitals have formed sleeper cells ready to be “unleashed” at the first sign of any serious threat to Teheran, it is claimed.
Trained by Iranian intelligence services, they are also said to be recruiting fellow Shias in the region, whose communities have traditionally been marginalised by the Gulf’s ruling Sunni Arab clans.
Were America or Israel to attack Iran, such cells would be instructed to foment long-dormant sectarian grievances and attack the ex-tensive American and European business interests in wealthy states such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Such a scenario would bring chaos to the Gulf, one of the few areas of the Middle East that remains prosperous and has largely pro-Western governments.
The claims have been made by Adel Assadinia, a former career diplomat who was Iran’s consul-general in Dubai and an adviser to the Iranian foreign ministry. They came as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, made a formal visit to Saudi Arabia yesterday in what was widely seen as an attempt to defuse growing Sunni-Shia tensions in the Middle East.