April 21, 2015 / 3:13 PM / 3 years ago

Israel sentences Belgian-Iranian to seven years' jail for spying

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A Belgian-Iranian man was sentenced to seven years in jail in Israel on Tuesday after being convicted of spying for Iran that included photographing the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv from his nearby hotel balcony.

Iranian-Belgian citizen Ali Mansouri sits in a courtroom at the magistrate's court in Petah Tikva near Tel Aviv September 30, 2013. REUTERS/Nir Elias

A court in the central Israeli city of Lod said the information Ali Mansouri, 56, provided Tehran was of “limited value”. He was arrested in Tel Aviv in 2013 and signed a plea bargain agreement last November.

According to court papers, Mansouri visited Israel three times to set up a business selling folding windows and pneumatic tools, an enterprise prosecutors said was intended to mask his intelligence gathering for Iran.

He was found to have photographed the U.S. Embassy along the Tel Aviv beachfront, Israel’s main international airport and a military installation that was not identified.

Tehran has accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of mounting operations in Iran that have included assassinations of nuclear scientists as part of a campaign to hamper an atomic program Israel and the West fear is aimed at producing weapons.

Iran, which reached a framework deal with world powers on April 2 on curbing its nuclear activities, says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Jeffrey Heller/Mark Heinrich

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