Iran denies sending nurses to spy on Turkey

January 29, 2012, Sunday/ 16:04:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Iran has denied claims of an alleged plot to send nurses to spy on Turkey.
Officials at the Iranian Embassy in Ankara denounced the claims on Friday and depicted them as “misleading Iranian and Turkish public opinion” and “benefiting nobody except those who are jealous of friendly Turkish-Iranian ties,” in an explanation to Today's Zaman.

The story of Iran's plans to send “spy” nurses to Turkey first appeared in the Habertürk daily and was later picked up by other media sources, including Today's Zaman. Habertürk reported on Wednesday that Iran was planning to send nurses trained in espionage to spy on Turkey, based on information sent to the Interior Ministry by an unidentified source, who claimed to be an Azeri Iranian.

Turkey recently passed legislation making it possible for foreign doctors and nurses to work in Turkish hospitals.

“My wife is a nurse, and we decided to apply [to work in Turkey] after we learned that Iran was planning to send nurses to Turkey. A state official then visited us, asking my wife to attend a course before going to Turkey,” said the unknown source in a letter to the ministry, as published by Habertürk last Wednesday. The source claimed the courses would teach “techniques for influencing patients” and “methods for gathering personal information.”

The Interior Ministry has since begun investigating Iranians who have applied to work in Turkey. It has also asked the Foreign Ministry to aid in the investigation.

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