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Lawyer of Iranian in Israel denies spy allegations

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September 30, 2013 11:25 AM EST | AP

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JERUSALEM — A lawyer for an Iranian accused of espionage in Israel said Monday that the allegations against his client are baseless.

The suspect, Ali Mansouri, made his first court appearance on Monday since Israel announced the accusations. Israel's Shin Bet security agency says Iran recruited the Belgian-Iranian national last year and sent him to Israel to spy. He was arrested on Sept. 11 at Israel's international airport.

Mansouri's lawyer, Michal Orkabi, described the case as "complex" and the allegations as "far from the truth." She declined further comment because of security restrictions.

Israel announced the arrest on Sunday as Netanyahu left to the U.S. for talks on Iran. He says Tehran's recent diplomacy push is a ploy to lift sanctions while pursuing nuclear weapons.

Israeli media have said the timing of the announcement was politically motivated.