In late 2014 an Iranian espionage effort was uncovered in UAE (United Arab Emirates). A police sergeant in Dubai was arrested because he had obtained information for Iranian diplomats and was rewarded with large discounts at an Iranian hospital in Dubai. The Iranians wanted the names of Dubai policemen who were Shia as well as other information. An Iranian diplomat provided the cheap medical care (for the policeman’s wife) first and later another diplomat asked for the information. This was all done in such a way that the policeman could feel he was not spying but simply returning a favor to Iranian diplomats who had helped him out with a family medical crises. What bothered UAE officials the most was that the Iranian diplomats were known to be friendly and generous and that this may be but one locally recruited spy among many. The fact that the Iranians were seeking the identities of Shia policemen was disturbing as the Iranians have been known to aid or instigate Shia Arabs to do things that benefit Iran, often at the expense of the local Arab government.
The medical care technique is not new or unique to the Iranians. The Israelis have been using it in the Palestinian territories for decades. Israel has long had the best medical care system in the region and offering free access to that for a Palestinian (usually for a spouse or elderly family member) usually results in needed information.