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Iran accuses Kylie Moore-Gilbert of spying for Israel with help of Bahraini ex-MP

Kylie Moore-Gilbert was released in a swap for three Iranians [University of Melbourne]]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2020

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A report aired on Iranian state-run television claimed that the British-Australian academic was a spy for Israel.
Iran is claiming that recently released Australian-British academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert spied for Israel with the help of a former Bahraini MP.

The media campaign is attempting to justify Tehran's claim that Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was released last month after two years imprisoned in Iran, was a spy.

An Iranian state-run TV outlet ran an almost 10-minute long segment featuring pictures of Moore-Gilbert travelling in Jerusalem with family and friends, the Guardian reported.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting network report claimed that the Middle East scholar had been recruited by Israel and was linked to several former Israeli army officers and Mossad. 

The network provided no proof for its claims. Moore-Gilbert and the Australian government say that all the allegations against the academic are baseless. 

Iranian media reports included pictures of Moore-Gilbert visiting sites in Jerusalem in a wedding dress. 

Showing Moore-Gilbert pictured next to women in green fatigues, the video report suggested Moore-Gilbert had attended a training camp in Haifa. 

"As per her training and to avoid any threat, she went to all places where tourists visit and made calls from those areas and took photographs," the report said according to the Guardian.

"She was told to hide her travels to Israel and also her contacts with Israelis."

Former Bahraini Parliamentarian Jasim Husain was accused in the report of helping Moore-Gilbert by teaching her Arabic and Farsi.

"The story is unconvincing to anyone with basic knowledge," Husain told the Guardian.

Husain said he met Moore-Gilbert at an academic conference in Australia a few weeks prior to her visit to Iran in which she was detained.

"I was aware of her trip, she was going there for a conference, then going to some tourist sites, then engaging in some research," Husain said.

Husain said he believed it was Moore-Gilbert's meetings with Shia exiles in Iran that highlighted her to the authorities. 

"Kylie can do no trouble to anyone, let alone a country. She is properly peaceful, a true researcher, an academic, someone who loves the Middle East," he said.

Iran hosts small exile communities from Bahrain, some of which have been accused of supporting armed opposition by the Bahraini govenrment. 

Moore-Gilbert was released in November after having spent more than 800 days in custody, in a swap for three Iranians linked to a botched plot to kill Israeli officials in Bangkok.

Moore-Gilbert said she thanked supporters from the "bottom of my heart" on Tuesday, saying they helped her through a "never-ending, unrelenting nightmare".

She was arrested by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2018, after attending an academic conference in the holy city of Qom in central Iran.

Reports in Australian media last week claimed that Iranian authorities had detained her after discovering she was in a relationship with an Israeli citizen.

She was later charged with espionage and sentenced to 10 years in jail, allegations she has denied.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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