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Iran busts US-linked internet spy gang

world Updated: Mar 14, 2010 10:57 IST

Iran claimed to have busted a spy racket allegedly linked with the US intelligence agency CIA and arrested 30 people for operating an internet network to gather secret data related to Iran's nuclear scientists.

The Judiciary said on Saturday it has dismantled a US-backed cyber network, which was set up to gather information on Iran's nuclear scientists and spread unrest after the presidential election.

The nexus was formed by anti-Iran groups, including the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organisation (MKO), the Judiciary said in a statement, adding that 30 suspects have been arrested.

According to Iranian authority, during former US President George W Bush's regime, a new campaign in the intelligence front - the "cyber war" - was set up to engage Iran, with the help of the MKO, pro-monarchy groups and other anti-Iran cells.

"Iran proxy", which was one of the main projects of the campaign, received $50 million from the CIA and the US State Department, the statement said.

The program, which allowed Iranians bypass the state's filtering system and access the internet, was designed to "obtain personal and family information" of its users and pass them on to US spy agencies.

Another major project was a network of "human rights activists", which was led by Keyvan Rafiei, Jamal Hosseini and Ahmad Batebi, it said.

The network was tasked with recruiting people and sending them to an MKO camp in Iraq and other countries, where they would receive training, the statement said.

It said the network was also in close cooperation with "Lawyers Committee" and "Harana News service", Press TV reported.

The network, according to the confession of its arrested members, was also tasked with inviting people to attend rallies and riots after the presidential election in June.

The Judiciary said that the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) has been briefed on the situation and about the key members of the group, who operate the racket from the US.