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Iran executes man convicted of spying for CIA, Mossad

Mahmoud Mousavi Majd’s killing comes a week after Tehran announced execution of another man for selling information about its missile program

Mahmoud Mousavi Majd, an Iranian man executed for allegedly spying for Mossad and the CIA. (Iranian media)
Mahmoud Mousavi Majd, an Iranian man executed for allegedly spying for Mossad and the CIA. (Iranian media)

Iran on Monday executed a former translator convicted of spying on its forces for the US and Israel, including helping to locate a top Iranian general, who was killed later in a US drone strike.

“Mahmoud Mousavi Majd’s sentence was carried out on Monday morning over the charge of espionage so that the case of his betrayal to his country will be closed forever,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website reported.

Majd had spied “on various security fields, especially the armed forces and the Quds Force and the whereabouts and movements of martyr General Qasem Soleimani,” judiciary spokeswoman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a news conference earlier this month.

The judiciary has said Majd was arrested prior to Soleimani’s assassination and was not tied to his killing.

Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Revolutionary Guard commanders in Tehran, Iran, on September 18, 2016. (Official website of the Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP/File)

Majd had been found guilty of receiving large sums of money from both the US Central Intelligence Agency and Israel’s Mossad, Esmaili said.

Soleimani headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and was killed in January in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport.

Iran retaliated by firing a volley of ballistic missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq, but US President Donald Trump opted against responding militarily.

While the attack on the western Iraqi base of Ain Al-Asad left no US soldiers dead, dozens suffered brain trauma.

Majd had migrated to Syria in the 1970s with his family and worked as an English and Arabic language translator at a company, Mizan said.

When war broke out, he chose to stay in the country while his family left.

“His knowledge of Arabic and familiarity with Syria’s geography made him close to Iranian military advisers and he took responsibilities in groups stationed from Idlib to Latakia,” the site added.

‘American dollars’

Majd was not a member of the Revolutionary Guards, but he “infiltrated many sensitive areas under the cover of being a translator.”

He was found to have been paid “American dollars to reveal information on adviser convoys, military equipment and communication systems, commanders and their movements, important geographical areas, codes and passwords” until he came under scrutiny and his access was downgraded.

He was arrested in October 2018, Mizan said.

Iran said last week it had executed another man convicted of spying for the CIA by selling information about Iran’s missile program.

An Iranian clergyman looks at domestically built surface to surface missiles displayed by the Revolutionary Guard in a military show marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, February 3, 2019. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

Reza Asgari had worked at the defense 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 program.

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 gasoline 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.”

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