Iran’s Spy Ring Busted: Four Men Hanged for Sabotage Plot and Mossad Links

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Iran executed four men on Monday for planning to sabotage a defense ministry factory and having alleged links with Israel’s Mossad spy agency, state media reported. The men were trained by Mossad in an African country and entered Iran with fake identities, according to the official IRNA news agency.

The Sabotage Plot and the Arrests

The four men, identified as Mohammad Faramarzi, Mohsen Mazloum, Vafa Azarbar and Pejman Fatehi, were convicted of plotting to target a factory in 2022 belonging to Iran’s defense ministry and involved in missile and defense equipment in the central city of Isfahan. The operation was allegedly engineered by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service that Iran considers its arch-enemy.

The men were arrested in July 2022 by Iran’s intelligence agents, who claimed to have dismantled a group linked to Mossad that had allegedly planned terror operations inside Iran. The agents said they confiscated a large amount of weapons and explosives from the group, as well as documents and equipment that revealed their connection to Mossad.

The Trial and the Execution

The four men were tried by a court in September 2023 and sentenced to death for espionage, collaboration with a hostile state, and participation in terrorist acts. The court said the men had confessed to their crimes and expressed regret, but their appeals were rejected by the Supreme Court.

Iran’s Spy Ring Busted

The execution was carried out on Monday, January 29, 2024, after the verdict was confirmed by the head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi. The report did not say how the death sentences were carried out, but in Iran, it is usually by hanging. Iran has one of the highest rates of executions in the world, according to human rights groups.

The Background and the Implications

Iran and Israel have been locked in a shadow war for years, accusing each other of spying, assassinations, cyberattacks, and sabotage. Israel views Iran as its greatest threat and has repeatedly threatened to take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran denies it is seeking such weapons and has vowed a harsh response to any aggression.

The execution of the four men comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries, especially after the recent war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that Iran supports. Last month, a high-ranking Iranian general of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard was killed by an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria. Iran also blamed Israel for the killing of its top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in November 2020.

The execution of the four men is likely to further strain the relations between Iran and Israel, as well as the prospects of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal that the US withdrew from in 2018. The deal, which was signed by Iran and six world powers, aimed to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. However, since the US exit, Iran has gradually breached the deal’s restrictions, while the remaining parties have struggled to keep it alive.

Category: World

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