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Iran executes 4 accused of working for Israel

December 4, 2022

The four people who were put to death were convicted for "intelligence cooperation" with Israel, officials said. The accused had been given no recourse to appeal the judgment.

File picture of Iranian police prepare a public execution in 2007
Iran carries out hundreds of executions each year. This public execution took place in 2007Image: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA/picture-alliance/dpa

Iranian authorities on Sunday put four people to death for allegedly working with Israel's Mossad intelligence service.

Mirzan Online, news service for the Iranian judiciary, reported that "four main members" of a "gang" related to Israel's intelligence service were executed on Sunday morning.

Those executed allegedly "carried out kidnappings, prepared weapons and received their wages in digital currency," the judiciary said.

The execution comes just days after the death sentences were upheld by Iran's Supreme Court. The online publication said that the four were given no opportunity to appeal the court's decision.

Three others received prison sentences ranging from five to 10 years after they were convicted of acting against national security, aiding in kidnapping and possessing illegal weapons, state-affiliated Mehr news agency reported.

Israel and Iran tensions

Israel considers Iran, and Iranian proxies in the Middle East, to be its largest security threat.

Iran has not recognized Israeli sovereignty since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and supports anti-Israeli armed groups including Hezbollah and Hamas.

Both countries frequently accuse one another of espionage, with Israel in January saying it had swooped in on an Iranian spy ringit said was recruiting Israeli women via social media, to photograph strategic sites and gather intelligence.

Israel is also concerned about Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons and has and does not support the US returning to the Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from in 2018.

Inside Israel's cyber security force

Iran and capital punishment

Iran frequently carries out the death penalty, with hundreds of people being put to death each year.

According to Amnesty International, Tehran executed at least 314 people in 2021 accounting for more that half of the executions recorded in the Middle East in that year.

Tensions are also running high amid protests over the death of 22-year-old Masha Amini at the hands of Iranian authorities. 

kb/wmr (AFP, AP, Reuters)