Iran jails man accused of spying on nukes, missiles, for Israel and Germany
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Iran jails man accused of spying on nukes, missiles, for Israel and Germany

Judiciary spokesman says Massud Mossaheb used ‘guise’ of general secretary of Austrian-Iranian Society; second man also jailed on allegations of spying for UK; both get 10 years

Visitors look at a Hoveizeh 8 cruise missile at a military show marking the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran, February 3, 2019.  (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Visitors look at a Hoveizeh 8 cruise missile at a military show marking the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran, February 3, 2019. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

Iran sentenced a man to 10 years in jail for spying on the Islamic Republic for Israel and Germany, judicial authorities said Tuesday.

A second man was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying on behalf of Britain, officials said.

Judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili said Massud Mossaheb had been “spying for [Israeli spy agency] Mossad and Germany in the guise” of the general secretary of the Austrian-Iranian Society.

Mossaheb was accused of sharing information on “nuclear and missile projects” with Israel and the German intelligence services.

Speaking to state television, Esmaili said a second man, Shahram Shirkhani, had been working for British intelligence.

Shirkhani allegedly gathered “sensitive information” in Iran’s banking and defense sectors and tried to recruit government staff for his cause.

Esmaili recently said that five employees of the foreign ministry, energy industries and companies had been detained. It was not clear when Mosaheb and Shirkhani were arrested.

Iran suffered a series of mysterious explosions and fires at sensitive sites last month, including at least one that appeared to target centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility, which authorities have blamed on sabotage.

This photo released July 2, 2020, by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, shows a building after it was damaged by a fire, at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

Iran occasionally arrests and convicts those accused of spying on behalf of foreign countries, particularly the US and Israel.

Iran last month 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, an Iranian man executed for allegedly spying for Mossad and the CIA. (Iranian media)

Mahmoud Mousavi 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,” Esmaili told a news conference.

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.

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.

Iran also said last month 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)

In June, Iran hanged Jalal Hajizavar, also a former staffer of the defense ministry, after he had admitted in court he was paid to spy for the CIA.

In February the country handed down a 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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