Iran's intelligence minister is defending his agents' handling of a visit by a gay Utah state senator after hard-liners alleged it represented a security breach.

Mahmoud Alavi made the comments on Tuesday in an open session of Iran's parliament.

Alavi says Sen. Jim Dabakis was under "full surveillance" during his six-day visit in September. He also questioned why hard-liners didn't have a problem with Dabakis making a 15-day visit in 2010 during the administration of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Dabakis says he traveled as a private citizen to Iran. Iranian officials have said his visa application didn't clearly say he held elected office in the United States.

Dabakis' visit comes as those with Western ties increasingly face arrest in Iran, where gays and lesbians also can face the death penalty.