Iranian intelligence minister hounded for gay US senator’s trip to Tehran

Mahmoud Alavi defended Jim Dabakis’s visit saying that Dabakis ‘was kept under full surveillance during his secret visit’

Published: Updated:

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi came under heavy questioning from parliament following his confirmation that openly-gay Utah state senator Jim Dabakis had visited the country.

Alavi defended the visit saying that Dabakis “was kept under full surveillance during his secret visit to Iran in September”.

The Iranian intelligence minister also confirmed that Dabakis had visited Iran twice, the first time in 2010, noting that no one objected to his visit at the time although it was carried out when Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, whose government was supported by hardliners, was in power.

In an interview with KUTV, a Salt Lake City television station in September, Dabakis revealed the details of a secret visit which he and a delegation recently made to Iran.

Dabakis said he would visit Iran again May and hopes to bring a delegation of 12 people after he was invited by an Iranian university group.

“I’ll invite a diverse group including community leaders and talk to the LDS church to see if they want to send a representative,” he is quoted as saying by KUTV.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is more commonly known as the Mormon Church.

The senator said that during his six-day visit to Iran, he visited the cities of Tehran and Isfahan.

“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 said.

Media outlets which are close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and security apparatuses had fiercely criticized this visit because two delegation members are American military experts.