British housewives might have a reputation for being nosey parkers but, according to a leaked US government report, one woman has taken peering over the garden hedge to a new extreme.
According to the Pentagon-commissioned document, during a trip to Tehran back in 2002, 53-year-old Anne Singleton and her Iranian husband, Massoud Khodabandeh, 56, were blackmailed into working as spies for the Persian nation’s secret service.
The report, written by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress and privately circulated in Washington, allegedly claims that the couple agreed to spy on opponents of the regime in return for saving the life of Khodabandeh's imprisoned brother.
Iranian agents also reportedly blackmailed the couple by threatening to confiscate Khodabandeh's mother’s extensive property in the pariah state’s capital.
The couple are said to have been targeted because of their links to revolutionary opposition organization, the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (MEK).
The frumpy brunette was trained to fire weapons at the MEK's camp in Iraq but later fell out with the group, describing it as a cult.
The report claims that: ‘In 2002 Singleton met in Tehran with Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran [MOIS] agents who were interested in her background. She agreed to co-operate with them to save her brother-in-law’s life.’
It goes on to say that following training from the MOIS, Singleton returned to England and, in the winter of 2002, launched the iran-interlink.org website, which, according to the site, aims to 'inform as widely as possible about the real nature of the…[MEK] cult and to act as a pressure group in this regard.'
However, the pair are accused of creating the site to tarnish the name of the opposition group on behalf of the regime. MEK was formerly designated a terrorist organization by the E.U. and U.S. but following their decision to disarm in 2003, this label has been lifted.
'Khodabandeh and Singleton appear to lead a small number of individuals in an aggressive demonization campaign against the MEK,’ the report says.
The same document also claims that after her trip to Tehran in 2002, Singleton 'made many trips to Iran and Singapore – the country where the agency contacts its foreign agents.’
This is not the first time the Leeds-based couple have been accused of being spies: they were also named in a 2007 report by the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom called 'Spying For The Mullahs: Iran’s Agents In The UK.'
Singleton vehemently denies the allegations.
British newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, reported the mother of one as saying: “The report was withdrawn. It wasn’t published anyway. It was leaked deliberately by a journalist in America.”
"The MEK just made all that up. Yes, I have been to Iran, but they have concocted a picture which is entirely false," she added.
The couple have threatened to take legal action over the claims.
Do you think the Leeds-based couple really are spies? Or do you think its more likely that the story was concocted by the MEK? Share your comments with us below!
© 2000 - 2019 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)