An Australian academic who was imprisoned in Iranian jail for 804 days on spying charges has called her captors ‘blundering and brainwashed idiots’.
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert said Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were ‘not well versed in security, geopolitics or counter espionage’.
She also compared them to Johnny English – the foolish spy from the 2003 comedy film of the same name – and added that IRGC members are ‘brainwashed’.
The University of Melbourne lecturer in Islamic studies travelled to Iran in August 2018 to attend a seminar on Shia Islam.
But three weeks later she was arrested at Tehran Airport in September on trumped-up spy charges as she attempted to fly home.
Speaking to the Telegraph about the IRGC, Dr Moore-Gilbert said: ‘Most of the time, they are blundering around arresting innocent people because of brainwashing and conspiracy theories.’
The academic – who much like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison – also told the outlet the feared IRGC are not ‘necessarily talented or skilled’.
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, where she spent more than two years behind bars until finally being freed in November 2020.
During her horror stay, she was subjected to filthy toilets, mistreatment from guards, and horrible food. brainwashed idiots
The lecturer also told the Telegraph that her interrogators accused her of working as a spy in the country before she had actually arrived – due to a calendar mix-up – in the early stages of her ordeal.
When she was arrested, Dr Moore-Gilbert – who is also the cousin of Julian Assange – had been attending a conference in Iran when she was flagged as ‘suspicious’ by a fellow academic and by a subject she had interviewed for research.
She was subsequently tried and sentenced, and held in Evin prison in solitary confinement. Iranian authorities reportedly tried to recruit her as a spy in exchange for her release, which she declined.
Nick Warner, the head of Australia’s intelligence service, successfully negotiated a prison swap for Dr Moore-Gilbert’s freedom.