TEHRAN, Jan. 19 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran has broken up a CIA-backed network that sought to carry out a "soft revolution" in Iran through people-to-people contacts.
The "soft revolution" plan is based in Dubai and is similar to a U.S. plan that targeted the Soviet Union in 1959, the director of the counterespionage department of the Intelligence Ministry told reporters at a press conference here on Monday.
He said the CIA was seeking to implement the plan under the cover of scientific and cultural contacts between Iranian and U.S. nationals.
Unfortunately, some Iranian nationals, especially cultural and scientific figures, were deceived through such activities, he added.
"The U.S. intelligence agency was seeking to (repeat) its experiences of color revolutions through such public contacts with influential persons and elites."
The CIA tried to attain its goals by taking advantage of people-to-people contacts, joint studies, efforts to share scientific experiences, and other similar projects, he added.
The soft revolution plan was carried out through "NGOs, union protests, non-violent demonstrations, civil disobedience... and (efforts to) foment ethnic strife" all across Iran, the official stated.
Four of the people who led the network inside Iran were actively and intentionally cooperating with CIA agents, he noted.
These four persons were put on trial, some others were pardoned, and some others were acquitted due to lack of sufficient evidence, he explained.
These four persons confessed and videotapes of parts of their confessions will be released soon, he noted.
He only named two of the persons, the brothers Dr. Arash Alaei and Dr. Kamyar Alaei.
The Intelligence Ministry official said that $32 million of the $75 million allocated by the U.S. Congress to destabilize Iran was spent on this project.
The CIA used institutions such as the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Soros Foundation, AIPAC, and charity organizations and sought the help of William Burns and other people in the United States and agents in the Azerbaijan Republic, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.
He stated that the CIA enlisted scientists, physicians, university professors, clergymen, artists, athletes, and dress designers for its plot.
He went on to say that these people were invited to the United States in groups of 10-15 people, with visas issued for them in Dubai in the shortest possible time, and according to their professions, they participated in scientific seminars and toured various states, and when they returned home they were asked to write "analyses" of the situation inside Iran.
The CIA was actively seeking to recruit more people for the network, who also would have been invited to visit the United States, he added.
These persons were ordered to put pressure on the government to change its policy and to sow discord between the government and the people, he explained.
The Intelligence Ministry found out about the secret plan from the very beginning and "even allowed the operation to be conducted to a (certain level) so that we could inform talented people with full confidence that they should not be deceived by such scientific centers," he stated.
The Iranian Intelligence Ministry countered the plot by "infiltrating" the network and even derailed it from its path by providing false information, but the CIA eventually discovered the ruse, he explained.
Advice for Obama
The official advised the incoming U.S. administration to avoid repeating the previous "failed" policies toward Iran.
He made the remarks one day before Barack Obama is officially inaugurated as the next U.S. president.
The Intelligence Ministry official said the U.S. is discrediting its scientific and charity organizations by allowing the CIA to use them as cover for its activities.
"It is not in the interests of scientific and political institutions (to allow themselves) to be used by the CIA for its hidden agenda."
Employing such organizations to conduct spy activities will create skepticism about them that will be very difficult to eliminate, he noted.
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