Egypt to try Iranian and Egyptian on spy charges

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Reuters: Egypt will try an Iranian diplomat in absentia and a captured Egyptian on charges of spying and plotting to carry
out attacks at home and abroad, the public prosecutor said
on Tuesday. Reuters

CAIRO – Egypt will try an Iranian diplomat in absentia and a captured Egyptian on charges of spying and plotting to carry out attacks at home and abroad, the public prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Public prosecutor Maher Abdel Wahed said Egyptian Mohamed Eid Mohamed Dabbous supplied information to Iranian diplomat Mohammad Reza Hosseindoust that helped to orchestrate an attack on a petrochemical site in the Saudi oil city of Yanbu in May, which killed five Western engineers.

A wing of the militant group al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack.

Dabbous was in Saudi Arabia at the time he provided the information, but is now detained in Egypt. Hosseindoust worked at the Iranian interests office in Cairo, but fled to Iran, the prosecutor said. Abdel Wahed said the two plotted a range of attacks that were designed to “result in the severing of political relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia”.

Iran has not had official diplomatic ties with Egypt since the Iranian revolution in 1979, when Tehran broke off relations because Egypt had agreed a peace treaty with Israel.

Cairo and Tehran have said they are moving closer to restoring relations. However, Iran has yet to change a Tehran street name which honours the assassin of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the man who made peace with Israel.

Iranian diplomats in Cairo could not immediately be reached to comment on the case.

Abdel Wahed also said Dabbous had agreed to supply Hosseindoust “with information for the benefit of a foreign state with the aim of damaging the (Egyptian) national interests.