Iran: 2 spies from Israel, Germany, UK arrested

Iran said that it had arrested many suspicious individuals allegedly on a mission to spy on the Islamic Republic for rival states.

Iran spy

Iran said Tuesday that its courts have sentenced two men to 10 years each in jail for spying on the Islamic republic for Britain, Germany and Israel in separate cases.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said one of the men, Massud Mossaheb, had been “spying for (Israeli spy agency) Mossad and Germany in the guise” of the general secretary of the Austrian-Iranian Society.

Who are the spies sentenced by Iran?

Mossaheb was found to have been providing them with information on Iran’s “missile, nuclear, nanotechnology and medical fields”, he added.

The second man, Shahram Shirkhani, had been working for British intelligence, the spokesman said, quoted by the state television website.

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Shirkhani had been seeking to “corrupt authorities and recruit” people and give away information on “contracts related to the central bank, Melli Bank and the defence ministry”.

Esmaili also said five more people had been arrested recently for alleged espionage in the foreign, defence and industries ministries, companies working in the energy industry, and Iran’s atomic agency.

He did not give their identities or elaborate on their charges.

What were the alleged spies doing in Iran?

Austria called in mid-2019 for the release of Mossaheb, who was then 72 years old.

It said no formal charges had been pressed and the reason for his detention was unknown.

According to Austria’s Der Standard newspaper, Mossaheb had travelled to Iran to accompany a delegation from an Austrian research centre which had opened a subsidiary near Tehran.

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After his detention in January 2019, his family had no contact with him for weeks before eventually learning that he was being held in Tehran’s Evin prison.

The Austrian-Iranian Society says its aim is to foster closer ties between the two countries, particularly in the economic sphere.

Iran: spies everywhere for the Islamic regime 

Iran has recently announced several detentions and in some cases executions of people found guilty of spying by its courts.

The most recent was Mahmoud Mousavi Majd, a former translator executed last month for spying for the US and Israel, including helping to locate top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani killed later by the Americans in Iraq.

Iran executed another man named Reza Asgari in July, after he was convicted of spying on Iran’s missile programme for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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And in February Tehran handed down a similar sentence for Amir Rahimpour, another man convicted of spying for Washington and of conspiring to sell information on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Tehran announced in December it arrested eight people “linked to the CIA” involved in nationwide street protests that erupted the month before over a surprise petrol price hike.

Iran executes prisoner in immediate aftermath of another execution

Earlier, Iran said it had executed another man convicted of spying for the CIA by selling information about Iran’s missile programme.

Reza Asgari had worked at the defence ministry’s aerospace division for years but retired four years ago, after which he sold “information he had regarding our missiles” to the CIA in exchange for large sums of money.

Iran in February handed down a similar sentence for Amir Rahimpour, another man convicted of spying for the US and conspiring to sell information on Iran’s nuclear programme.

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Tehran announced in December it had arrested eight people “linked to the CIA” and involved in nationwide street protests that erupted the previous month over a surprise petrol price hike.

It also said in July 2019 that it had dismantled a CIA spy ring, arrested 17 suspects between March 2018 and March 2019 and sentenced some of them to death.

Trump at the time dismissed the claim as “totally false”.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk

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