An Iranian newspaper on Monday said Israel had taken a "cheap shot" at delegitimizing the Islamic Republic's recent "charm offensive" at the UN General Assembly with the timing of an announcement of the arrest of an alleged Iranian spy operating in Israel .
Security sources on Sunday said the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) had arrested Ali Mansouri, a Belgian national of Iranian origin, on September 11 as he was trying to leave the country.
The Shin Bet said the 55-year-old suspect had been recruited by an extraterritorial unit run by the Revolutionary Guards Corps that is responsible for special operations, terrorism and subversion.
"Since Israel is always trying to demonize Iran, the move came as no surprise," The Tehran Times said.
The daily claimed the arrest announcement stood as sign that Israel had entered "damage control mode" over Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's efforts in New York to display a moderate face to the West.
"Many political analysts saw it as a cheap shot taken to undermine Rouhani’s efforts to show the true face of Iran at the United Nations," the Times said.
The daily pointed to timing of the announcement as corresponding with "Israel's propaganda campaign against Iran" ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's trip to the US, during which he was slated to warn US President Barack Obama of the Iranian regime's "true face".
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.
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