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Iran says 4 sentenced to death for alleged collaboration with Israeli intelligence

Regime-affiliated news agency says ruling issued against ‘network of thugs’ that was ‘kidnapping people’ and ‘stealing and destroying property’

Demonstrators burn representations of Israeli and US flags during the annual Al-Quds Day rally in Tehran, Iran, May 7, 2021  (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Demonstrators burn representations of Israeli and US flags during the annual Al-Quds Day rally in Tehran, Iran, May 7, 2021 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian media reported Wednesday that four people had been sentenced to death in the country for supposed collaboration with Israeli intelligence services.

The semi-official Mehr news agency also claimed the four took had taken part in unspecified kidnappings.

Iran announces the arrest of Israeli spies from time to time. The veracity of such claims is unclear and there is seldom a public Israeli response.

The Islamic Republic regularly also announces death sentences against political dissidents, including against some protesters taking part in the current large-scale nationwide demonstrations that have drawn a brutal crackdown by authorities.

Iranian media said the four people were “sentenced to death for the crime of cooperating with the intelligence services of the Zionist regime and for kidnapping,” according to a translation by the Reuters news agency.

“With guidance from the Zionist intelligence service, this network of thugs was stealing and destroying private and public property, kidnapping people, and obtaining fake confessions,” it added.

The report said three others were sentenced to prison terms of between five and 10 years, over alleged crimes of acting against national security, aiding kidnappings and possessing illegal weapons.

Tehran has long accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of operating on its soil, including in connection with a series of sabotage attacks on its nuclear facilities and scientists.

Jerusalem has rarely taken credit for such actions, although former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly feted an operation that resulted in Israel retrieving a trove of classified documents on Iran’s nuclear program.

In addition, Tehran has accused Israel and its allies of trying to foment civil war amid the protests against the regime.

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