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Israel releases pictures allegedly taken by detained Iranian spy

Israel Security Agency

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is seen from a high vantage point in one of a series of photos that the Israel Security Agency says were taken by Ali Mansouri, an Iranian-Belgian citizen who was arrested on suspicion of spying for Iran.

Israel released pictures on Monday it alleges were taken by an Iranian spy who was detained after photographing the U.S. Embassy and the airport in Tel Aviv.

Israel Security Agency

Ali Mansouri, who was said to be traveling under the name Alex Mans, appears in two of the photos released by Israeli authorities.

According to the Israel Security Agency, Ali Mansouri is a Belgian citizen born in Iran who was sent to spy for Tehran. The 55-year-old was due in court on Monday.

The announcement of his detention coincided with a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to President Barack Obama where Iran’s controversial nuclear program will be at the forefront of discussions.

Reuters reported that an Israeli official told reporters on Netanyahu's flight that Mansouri's picture-taking outside the embassy - whose exterior can be seen in numerous images on the Internet - was an attempt "to collect intelligence for a possible terror attack".

On leaving for Washington D.C., Netanyahu pledged to "tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and the onslaught of smiles," in reference to the recent warming of relations between the U.S. and a seemingly more moderate Iran.

Israel Security Agency

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is seen in the background of a second picture.

Of the pictures made public by the agency, one is of Ben Gurion Airport, two are of the U.S. Embassy building, and two are of Mansouri himself.

Israel alleges that as well as taking the pictures, Mansouri tried to establish business ties to bypass trade and financial embargoes between the two states.

Mansouri was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport on his way to Europe on September 11 while using the passport name Alex Mans, a statement from the security agency said. It was his third visit to Israel, according to officials.

Israel Security Agency

A photograph of a hall at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

Israel Security Agency

The Israel Security Agency released a total of five photos said to have been seized from Ali Mansouri, 55.