Iran convicts two men of spying for Israel, Britain

Authorities say one man gave info to Israeli embassies in Thailand, Turkey while other collaborated with UK ‘to optimize sanctions’

The city of Kerman, Iran (CC BY-SA Farshid7/Wikimedia Commons)
The city of Kerman, Iran (CC BY-SA Farshid7/Wikimedia Commons)

An Iranian court convicted two men on charges of spying for Britain and Israel and sentenced them to 10 and five years in prison, respectively.

State television on Friday quoted prosecutor Yadollah Movahhed in southeastern Kerman province, where both were tried, as saying that the man sentenced to 10 years had “exchanged information with four British intelligence operatives.”

The report, carried by the official news agency IRNA, came after Britain announced on Tuesday plans to reopen its embassy in Tehran, ending a three-year diplomatic freeze.

The British “spy” was “very active during the sanctions era, giving advice and collaborating with Britain in order to optimize the effects of sanctions,” IRNA said, quoting Movahed.

Movahed said the unnamed man was “notoriously known for having contacts with the British foreign secret service.”

IRNA gave no further details but said that an appeals court was reviewing the sentence.

Movahhed said the other man passed on intelligence regarding the city of Kerman to a security officer at the Israeli embassy in Thailand. He was arrested last August.

Agence France Presse reported that he had also given information to the Israeli embassy in Turkey.

Both men are believed to be Iranians but Movahhed did not provide their names. It was not known if the suspects had defense lawyers or who they were.

Iran occasionally says it has dismantled Western spying networks in the country and announces arrests of individuals on espionage charges.

Last June, Iran arrested 12 people it said were members of a British-Israeli spy ring operating within the Islamic Republic. In 2012, a group of 13 was accused of helping Israel assassinate Iranian scientists. Majid Jamali Fashi was executed after being found guilty of working for the Mossad.

Relations between Iran and Britain were strained for decades and they eventually broke off diplomatic ties in November 2011.

That month Britain shuttered its Tehran embassy after students stormed the compound during a protest against new sanctions targeting Iran’s vital oil exports. Britain then ordered the closure of Iran’s mission in London.

The two countries resumed diplomatic ties in February.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: [email protected]
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.