JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Iranian blogger granted asylum in Israel has been questioned by its Shin Bet internal security service on suspicion of illegal communication with Iran, an Israeli official said on Friday.
Israel admitted Neda Amin, who was previously based in Turkey, on humanitarian grounds in August, saying that she faced forced repatriation to Iran and would be at risk given her writings for an Israeli news site. Amin is of part-Jewish origin.
Israel and Iran are enemies. As home to thousands of Iranian Jewish immigrants, Israel has in the past allowed such citizens to visit or correspond with relatives in Iran. But Israeli law bars contact with Tehran’s military or similar state agencies.
A Shin Bet statement said that, after moving to Israel, Amin communicated with “Iranian representatives” and was questioned about this by the security service, whose responsibilities include counter-espionage.
The statement used a Hebrew term for Amin’s alleged Iranian contacts that can also translate as “agents” or “officials”.
Asked by Reuters for clarification, an Israeli security official said only that the people with whom Amin was accused of communicating were not her relatives, and were inside Iran.
Amin was not under arrest, said the Israeli official, who requested anonymity, adding: “Whether there is a (criminal) case here is still being investigated.”
Reached by telephone, Amin declined to discuss the matter.
“I’m okay. I’m free, and I’m at the home of a friend,” she said. “I don’t want to speak about this topic now.”
Amin, originally from Tehran, added that her father was Jewish and mother Muslim. “My idea and my belief is that I am Jewish,” she said.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Andrew Roche)