Iran's top spy Mahmoud Alavi .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iran's top spymaster was harshly criticized by the country's parliament on Wednesday after it was discovered that he secretly invited an openly-gay American politician to the Islamic Republic, according to Al-Arabiya.
Under questioning, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi confirmed that Democratic Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis had traveled to the country last month and “was kept under full surveillance during his secret visit."
Homosexuality in Iran is against the law and is punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or by execution.
Alavi also noted that no one had objected to Dabakis' previous visit to Iran in 2010, when former president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, whose government was supported by hardliners, was in power, Al-Arabiya reported.
The inquiry took place after Dabakis revealed during a television interview with a local Salt Lake City broadcaster that he was part of a delegation that traveled to the Islamic Republic last month.
(Democratic Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis. Photo By: Reuters)
“The people in Iran love Americans. We could not go down any city street without people following us, talking to us and inviting us to their home,” he told KUTV.
During his six-day stay, Dabakis said he visited Tehran and Isfahan, adding that he hoped to make another journey to the country in May.
“I’ll invite a diverse group including community leaders and talk to the LDS church to see if they want to send a representative,” said Dabakis.
The LDS Church is better known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or as the Mormon Church.
Earlier this year, Iran executed a gay adolescent - the first confirmed execution of someone convicted as a juvenile in the Islamic Republic in 2016 - according to a report by Amnesty International.
Hassan Afshar, 19, was hanged in Arak Prison in Iran's Markazi Province on July 18, after he was convicted of "forced male-to-male anal intercourse" (‘lavat-e be onf’) in early 2015, the NGO said in a statement.
According to a 2008 British Wikileaks dispatch, Iran executed between 4,000 to 6,000 gays and lesbians between the start of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 to 2008. Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this article.