Writer Neda Amin specializes in reporting on Iran. Photo: Neda Amin FB
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A blogger originally from Tehran who was granted asylum in Israel has faced an eight-day inquiry by an Israeli intelligence service for her contact with a man she believed was from Turkey but is accused of being an Iranian state agent.
Neda Amin was questioned by Israel's internal security and intelligence service, Shin Bet, on suspicion of illegal communications with Iran, Reuters reported on Friday, citing an Israeli official.
Amin had been critical of the Iranian regime while blogging in Istanbul.
Amin told Reuters that a Farsi-speaking man had called her in Turkey wanting to "protect" her from Turkish security services, and they continued to stay in contact after she moved to Israel.
"Whenever the man phoned, Amin said, his number came up on her screen with an Israeli prefix. They never met," Reuters reported.
Israeli authorities granted her asylum in August after she informed UN Watch, a Swiss-based non-governmental organization which monitors anti-Semitism, that she feared her life was in danger for her work in Turkey.
“She had been blogging frequently on The Times of Israel Persian, one of our foreign language sites,” wrote the founding editor of The Times of Israel in August. “And her writing for an Israeli news site, along with her other writing elsewhere, had apparently made life difficult for her in Turkey.”
While in Israel, Amin recently communicated with "Iranian representatives," Shin Bet stated. An unnamed Israeli security official clarified to the news agency that the people she was of accused of communicating with were not her relatives and were in Iran.
“They told me I am innocent as I have been in touch with an impostor, without knowing it,” Amin said. “I have spoken to this man, but I have done nothing against Israel’s security.”
Amin said Shin Bet told her the man was actually an Iranian government operative.
The Israeli security official explained that Amin's criminal case is still being investigated, but she was not under arrest. Contact with Iranian state agents is illegal in Israel.
Amin, 33, was born in Iran to a Jewish father and Muslim mother.
“My idea and my belief is that I am Jewish,” she told the news agency.