West sent lizards as nuclear spies, claims Iran defense official

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Major General Hassan Firoozabadi, a senior military advisor to Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, says a number of foreign elements travelled to Iran years ago to spy on the country's nuclear activities using reptiles.

While admitting that he is unaware of the specifics of Seyed-Emami's case, Firouzabadi maintained, "The Western countries have decided that war with the Islamic Republic can't be waged militarily, politically, or culturally, so they said "Let's fight it with all the means at our disposal" and branded it as hybrid warfare".

Iranian authorities claim that he was among at least seven people who were arrested for gathering classified information "under the coverage of scientific and environmental projects".

Kavous Seyed Emami, who was 63, died under mysterious circumstances last week in Tehran's Evin Prison, where he was taken after being arrested on January 24.

"The Revolutionary Guard has announced its readiness to provide documents and evidence to the parliament about the suicide of Emami", said Mohammad Reza Tabash, a member of the environment Bloc.

"After Mr. Seyyed Emami returned to his place he prepared the situation for committing suicide and committed suicide at the bathroom of his place", he said.

The Iranian judiciary could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday evening. Seventeen days later, Emami's son, Ramin, tweeted the news of his father's death while in custody at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), a non-profit group based in NY, said at least nine other staff members and executives of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation were arrested the same day as Seyed-Emami, citing information from a relative of one of those arrested.

Iran, which does not recognize dual citizenships, regularly accuses individuals of being Israeli or American spies. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said the United States is "aware of reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained in Iran".

In November, the conservative-linked Tasnim news agency accused Tahbaz of being a big-game hunter who was trying to seize control of national park land in northern Iran.

Seyed-Emami received his doctorate in sociology from the University of OR in 1991, according to an online alumni listing maintained by the university.

Derafshan said he had watched a video from the cell along with the family, which authorities have said proves he killed himself. "Unfortunately, Kavos Seyed-Emami, for whatever reason, could not bear the prison conditions", he said. "He lived a simple life that was connected to nature and that's why he was an inspiring man. People could see this was what he believed and he lived that way too".

Firouzabadi says there is a history of environmental espionage in Iran.

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