JERUSALEM (JTA) — Iran says it has arrested several Iranian citizens who volunteered information to a website offering cash rewards for information on missing Israeli airman Ron Arad.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi on Monday announced the arrests, saying the Born to Freedom Foundation, which offers $10 million to anyone who provides information for "proven information leading to soldiers missing in action," including Ron Arad, is a branch of the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency. Arad has been missing since crashing in Lebanon in 1986.
"The Zionist regime is interested in finding spies in different countries using this site and enlisting them in order to lead its intelligence operations in Muslim states," Moslehi said.
"The Zionist regime has run the institution inside the Islamic Republic of Iran and neighboring states even in forms of NGO some 20 years ago under a humanitarian cover."
Moslehi said that Iranian intelligence had identified a large number of citizens who had made contact with the site and urged others who also had made contact to come forward, promising that their punishment would be lighter if they did.
He also told the Iranian News Agency that "We used some of these people in order to penetrate Mossad base, and that is how we have made use of them."