Life undercover: legendary spy Gevork Vartanian’s 90th birth anniv.

Life undercover: legendary spy Gevork Vartanian’s 90th birth anniv.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Legendary Soviet spy Gevork Vartanian, who helped foil a Nazi plot to kill Allied leaders in Tehran during World War II would have celebrated his 90th birthday today, February 17.

Vartanian died from cancer at the age of 87 in a Moscow hospital on January 10, 2012.

Vartanian and his wife, Gohar, became a legendary spy couple, working on numerous missions for Soviet intelligence abroad. In an interview with RIA Novosti, Ms Vartanian shared her memories and thanked her friends for their care of her after her husband’s death.

“I wouldn’t have survived the grief of losing my wonderful husband, my life companion if it were not for the support of our friends.”

As she further noted, after her husband’s death, she continues the task of passing on the experience of intelligence work to younger generations. “He gave all of himself to the people and our motherland, holding nothing back,” she said.

Vartanian, whose father was a Soviet intelligence agent in Tehran posing as a merchant, began working for Soviet intelligence when he turned 16. He played a role in foiling a Nazi plot to assassinate Soviet leader Josef Stalin, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill when they held a conference in Tehran in November 1943.

Adolf Hitler ordered operation Long Jump after Nazi intelligence learned of the conference. Vartanian's group shadowed an advance team of Nazi agents, who arrived to set the ground for the mission, helping uncover the plot.

The Foreign Intelligence Service, which goes under its Russian acronym SVR, said that acting on orders from Moscow, Vartanian also joined a British intelligence school in Tehran and obtained information about its graduates sent to the Soviet Union, allowing Soviet authorities to catch them.

The SVR said Vartanian and his wife worked as intelligence agents in several countries between the 1950s and 1986, but didn't name them. They got married several times in different places as part of their cover. The ITAR-Tass news agency said they worked in Iran, Italy, France and Greece among other nations.

After retiring in 1992, Vartanian helped train young intelligence agents.

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