The Spanish police arrested three people in Madrid and Torrelavega on suspicion of involvement in a network spying on dissidents of the Iranian regime, the Spanish media reported on Friday.

According to a press release from the Spanish police cited by media outlets, the suspects allegedly infiltrated a Spanish NGO that aids asylum-seekers, and communicated to the Iranian secret services the identities of people who fled the country for ideological reasons. The police suspected the three of violating the confidentiality of data and information of Iranians who fled the Islamic Republic and expressed interest in seeking asylum in Spain.

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The police reportedly believed the three to be members of a spy network allegedly controlled by the Iranian intelligence services from the seat of its own embassy in Madrid.

The aim of the network was allegedly to monitor, pursue and even threaten countrymen living in Spain, considered to be dissidents of the Iranian regime.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that a Spanish citizen working for an NGO in Torrelavega recommended that a specific interpreter aid the asylum-seekers, but that interpreter was in fact a spy who passed along personal information of all those that he had helped.

The three people detained in Madrid include the NGO’s legal adviser, the interpreter and an embassy employee.

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