Iran executes man accused of spying for US and Israel

Iranian judiciary said Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd spied on former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani

FILE PHOTO: An Iranian holds a picture of late General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, as people gather to mourn him in Tehran, Iran January 4, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY/File Photo
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Iran on Monday executed a man convicted of spying for US and Israeli intelligence and helping to locate top commander Qassem Suleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in January.

“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.

Last month, the judiciary said Mousavi-Majd, who was arrested in 2018, spied on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Suleimani.

It said the case was not connected to Suleimani’s assassination.

On January 3, a US drone strike in Baghdad killed Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis, head of the Iran-backed Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah.

Washington had accused Suleimani, who was the leader of the Revolutionary Guard's foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, of orchestrating attacks by Iran-aligned militias on US troops in the region.

Tension between Washington and Tehran has soared in recent years after the US withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran and imposed heavy sanctions on the country, crippling its economy.

The execution comes at a time when millions of Iranians have taken to social media to protest against the death sentences handed out to three men accused of taking part in anti-government protests in Iran last November.

Their executions have been suspended, one of their attorneys, Babak Paknia, said on Sunday.

Rights activists said the sentences for the three men were aimed at intimidating future protesters.

Witnesses said security forces used tear gas last Thursday to disperse demonstrators in the south-west city of Behbahan.

They were protesting against economic problems but also the death sentences against the three men.

The Farsi hashtag “don’t execute” was tweeted millions of times last week.