Two Iranians arrested using fake Israeli passports, possibly for terror

An Iranian couple with forged Israeli passports were arrested after entering Buenos Aires.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two Iranian nationals were arrested Friday in Buenos Aires on suspicion of planning terrorist activity after Argentinian authorities discovered that they had entered the country with forged Israeli passports.

The two suspects, named as Sajjad Naserani, 27, and Mahsoreh Sabzali, 30, flew into the Argentinian capital last Tuesday from Spain on an Air Europa flight, local media reported. Although they were allowed to enter with Israeli passports in the names of Netanel and Rivka Toledano, the immigration authorities flagged them as their database showed that the documents had been either stolen or lost.

A query was sent to the Interpol Division of Jerusalem, which responded that the passport numbers actually belonged to a French-Jewish couple currently in Israel. The Argentinians then sent the suspects’ fingerprints and pictures, which did not match those of the actual passport owners.

In addition, the Israelis immediately noticed that there were numerous and obvious errors in the Hebrew text of the infiltrators’ documentation. For example, such basic words as “Israel,” “Surname” and “First name” in Hebrew were misspelled.

At that point, by order of a federal judge, Luis Rodríguez, the investigation was turned over to the counter-terrorism divisions of the federal intelligence agency and the federal police.

According to Clarin, Argentina’s largest newspaper, the police asked Interpol to check if the suspects’ fingerprints and pictures were on file with the international agency, but the answer came back negative. However, tracing the couple’s paper trail on their trip to Argentina, Spanish Interpol authorities found that they used different falsified passports to leave the country, which belonged to French citizens.

Rodríguez then ordered the Argentinian security forces to get to the hotel where the Iranians were staying and arrest them.

According to Clarin, Naserani identified himself as a photographer and Sabzali as an architect and engineer.

After the investigation into their purpose for being in Argentina had already begun, officials noticed that the two suspects entered the country right before the 27th anniversary of the March 17, Iranian-backed suicide bombing on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. Authorities raised the level of alert in the country.

Judge Rodríguez himself warned that the initially successful infiltration of the Iranian pair could “result in a risk to the security of the population.” He announced that “it is essential to maximize all security and prevention measures” on both the human and technical levels in the police and security forces.