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Iran: 9 face death for colluding with Israel in assassination of nuclear scientist

The scene where Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in Absard, a small city just east of the capital, in Tehran, Iran, on November 27, 2020. (Fars News Agency via AP); Inset: Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an undated photo. (Courtesy)
The scene where Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in Absard, a small city just east of the capital, in Tehran, Iran, on November 27, 2020. (Fars News Agency via AP); Inset: Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an undated photo. (Courtesy)

Nine people will face the death penalty in Iran over the assassination of one of the country’s top nuclear scientists, the judiciary says.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed when his car was ambushed on a highway outside Tehran in November 2020, in an attack Iran blamed on its regional arch-foe Israel.

The nine defendants were charged with “corruption on earth” and collusion with Israel, both capital offenses in the Islamic Republic, judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi says.

“Fakhrizadeh’s case has 15 defendants,” Setayeshi tells a news conference.

Along with those facing the death penalty, a further six people had “other accusations” leveled against them, he says.

In September, Tehran’s chief prosecutor Ali Salehi had announced 14 people were indicted in the case.

The charges against them included “colluding with the purpose of disrupting national security” and “actions against national security,” Salehi said at the time.

Fakhrizadeh had been under US sanctions for his role in Iran’s nuclear program when he was killed.

Iranian authorities claimed the attack included a bomb and a remote-controlled machine gun.

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