Iran to execute spy convicted of helping US kill Qassem Soleimani

An Iranian national convicted of spying for the US and Israel by helping target top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani will be executed, Iran’s judiciary said on Tuesday.

Mahmoud Mousavi Majd was convicted of spying on Iran’s armed forces, which led to the killing of Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in a US drone strike in Iraq.

Mahmoud Mousavi Majd was convicted of spying on Iran’s armed forces “especially the Quds Force and on the whereabouts and movements of martyr General Qassem Soleimani” for large sums of money from both Israel’s Mossad and the CIA, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a televised news conference.

Esmaili offered little information about the convicted man.

The decision immediately raised questions about how Majd would have had access to Soleimani’s travel information. The Iranian judiciary spokesman did not say when Majd would be executed, other than that it would be “soon”. He also stopped short of directly linking the information allegedly offered by Majd to Soleimani’s death.

The January 3 strike in Baghdad also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces, and five others, including the militias’ airport protocol officer, Mohammed Reda.

Iran later retaliated for Soleimani’s killing with a ballistic missile strike targeting US forces in Iraq. That same night, the Guard accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner in Tehran, killing 176 people.

Dismantling CIA spy ring claims

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, arresting 17 suspects between March 2018 and March 2019 and sentencing some of them to death.

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

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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