In a rare statement, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi has seemingly confirmed that an Israeli minister arrested last May and accused of spying for the Ayatollahs regime was, in fact, a Tehran agent.

“You have recently heard that we have put under our control a cabinet member from a powerful country,” Alavi said.

Although the minister did not specify which country he was referring to, the Iranian news sites and numerous commentators took the statements to be referring to former Energy Minister Gonen Segev, who was extradited from Equatorial Guinea and arrested in Israel.

Gonen was accused last June of “aggravated espionage,” as well as aiding the enemy in times of war, and other related charges, making him the highest-profile personality in the country’s history to be accused of espionage.

Gonen Segev Photo by Gilad Kavalerchik/Twitter
Gonen Segev Photo by Gilad Kavalerchik/Twitter

Segev, a former pediatrician, who spent time behind bars for drug trafficking after leaving the Knesset, moved to Nigeria after his release in 2007. He had served briefly as deputy and minister of Energy and Infrastructure under the Governments of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres in 1995 and 1996.

According to the indictment, Segev has been in contact with Iranian intelligence officials since 2012. His first contact was at the Iranian Embassy in Nigeria.

Segev’s lawyers say that the former minister denies that he acted against Israel’s interests and claims that he was trying to act as a double agent against Iran in the hope of returning to the Jewish state as a hero.