Jerusalem – Pigeons have served human beings for a variety of purposes; now it seems that, even in the era of satellites and supercomputers, there are some people who use them for spying.
At least that is what officials in Tehran claim.
Iranian security forces captured two pigeons that it suspected of spying near the uranium enrichment installation in Nantaz and another plant. This was reported on Monday in one Iranian newspaper and by other media. The nuclear facility in Nantaz is used by the Iranians to enrich uranium, using centrifuges that are allegedly hidden in underground bunkers.
According to the report, one of the pigeons was captured near a water installation in the city Kashan, which is in Iran’s Isfahan province.
The report said that the pigeon was found to be wearing a metal ring and it had invisible wires attached to its feet. The Iranians believed those strings were used to transmit information.
Iranian officials reported that there could be no doubt that the two pigeons that were captured had been sent to carry out espionage activities around the sensitive installations. The Iranian media did not divulge more information about the pigeons or the fate that ultimately befell them.
This is not the first time that the Iranians have accused animals of spying for the West. Last year, they claimed to have captured 14 squirrels that were equipped with espionage equipment.
“The squirrels were equipped with espionage means that belong to Western espionage agencies, and we succeeded in stopping them before they had a chance to act,” is how Iranian officials were quoted at the time as having said.
Uri Alon, one of Israel’s champion racing pigeon trainers, said he doubted the veracity of the Iranian allegations about spy pigeons.
“A pigeon will return only to the dovecote it was born in, so that in order to send a spy pigeon you need to put it physically in a place you want information about,” Mr. Alon said.
He said that while it was true that pigeons were capable of flying up to 2,500 miles, that would take them a number of days, and the route they would take to get home could not be controlled.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008