The claim was made first in a documentary titled "A Diamond For Deceit," aired on state television on June 8. The Iranian agent who had the lead role in the show was introduced as Mohammad Reza Madhi.
Madhi is said to be a former member of Iran’s security organs who was involved in the trade of precious stones in Thailand before infiltrating the opposition. Mahdi introduced himself as a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards in interviews published and aired last year by a number of media, including Persian-language television, radio, and websites. (For an interview with Madhi in English, click here.)
RFE/RL’s Persian service, Radio Farda, also spoke with Madhi at that time but decided not to air any interviews because the editors felt Madhi was not credible and they were not able to verify his many claims.
Radio Farda broadcaster Mohammad Reza Kazemi, who interviewed Madhi, said he claimed Iranian officials were involved in drug trafficking. Kazemi said Madhi also claimed he had been forced to leave Iran because of information he had obtained about the corruption of several officials, who in reaction were trying to get him arrested on rape charges. Madhi told Kazemi that his wife and children were in Iran and that he was very worried about them.
In the documentary, Madhi claimed that he was supposed to have served as a U.S. stooge to form an Iranian opposition government in exile. He said Western countries spend huge sums of money to keep the opposition alive. He claimed to have met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a trip to Saudi Arabia and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during a trip to Washington. State Department spokesman Alan Eyre told Radio Farda on June 10 that no U.S. officials ever met with Madhi.
In the documentary, Madhi is seen with some exiled Iranians, including an individual who appears to be former Iranian diplomat Mehrdad Khonsari, who according to Madhi was involved in the efforts to create a government in exile.
Khonsari told "Persian Letters" that he and his colleagues will respond to Madhi’s claims next week in a press conference in London.
The documentary, which was aired just a few days before the second anniversary of the disputed 2009 reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad -- is aimed at discrediting the Iranian opposition movement by claiming it is supported by Western countries.
It was also meant to be seen as a show of force by Tehran.
The Fars news agency said “A Diamond To Deceive” shows the command that Iranian intelligence has beyond the country’s geographic borders.
On June 9, an unnamed Intelligence Ministry official who spoke to Iranian state media said that as the result of the adoption of a "hard-hitting" approach by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, the Islamic republic is at its highest level of stability and security.
"When the enemy found itself unable to advance Gene Sharp's soft subversion project in the course of the  sedition [meaning the protests that followed Ahmadinejad's reelection] -- which, in view of the novelty of its variables, was the most unparalleled sedition throughout the life of the Islamic republic -- hard-line measures were placed on the agenda,” the official from the internal security section of the Intelligence Ministry was quoted as saying.
The official repeated some of the claims made in the documentary while providing more details about Madhi’s saga. He said the U.S. Embassy picked him to join the Iranian opposition movement outside the country because of his “religious and social” background. He said Madhi was rapidly recruited by U.S. intelligence services and later established a movement by the name of Companions.
He said Madhi was finally "rescued" by Iran from Israel and brought back home.
"When it was decided that the leadership council of the government in exile would be moved to [a] base in Tel Aviv within a year in order to manage and guide sabotage operations in Iran and topple the Islamic republic through a coup d'etat, the operations to rescue Madhi were carried out by [undercover agents] of the Hidden Imam, may God hasten his noble advent, and he returned to Iran."
There were conflicting reports in Iranian media about whether Madhi was an agent who infiltrated the opposition or whether he had been detained because of his activities.
Iran’s official news agency and the hard-line "Kayhan" daily have described “A Diamond For Deception” as “the confessions of an arrested antirevolutionary element." But Fars and state television said the documentary is about the infiltration by Iran’s intelligence into the opposition outside the country.
An intelligence official who was not named told Iran’s official news agency IRNA today that Madhi was an Intelligence Ministry agent.
-- Golnaz Esfandiari