Iran jails two 'spies' for ten years each

Iran jails two ‘spies’ for ten years each including one ‘who passed sensitive information to British intelligence and tried to recruit Tehran officials for MI6’

  • Shahram Shirkhani and Masoud Mosaheb were handed decade-long sentences
  • Shirkhani spied for British intelligence services, the judiciary spokesman said
  • Mosahen spied for Israel’s Mossad and German intelligence services, he added

Iran has jailed two ‘spies’ for ten years each, including one who allegedly passed sensitive information to British intelligence and tried to recruit Tehran officials for MI6.  

Shahram Shirkhani spied for British intelligence services and allegedly passed on ‘sensitive information’, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said.

He had been seeking to ‘corrupt authorities and recruit’ people for MI6, Esmaili added.

Shirkhani had also sought to give away information on ‘contracts related to the central bank, Melli Bank and the defence ministry’, the spokesman said.

Shahram Shirkhani spied for British intelligence services and tried to recruit Iranian officials for MI6, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili (pictured) said

Masoud Mosaheb, who was co-secretary of the Iran-Austria Friendship Society, has also been sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

He was convicted of spying for Israel’s Mossad and the German intelligence services, the spokesman said, in ‘the guise’ of the general secretary of the Austrian-Iranian Society.

Mossaheb was found to have been providing them with information on Iran’s ‘missile, nuclear, nanotechnology and medical fields’, he added. 

Austria called in mid-2019 for the release of Mossaheb, who was then 72 years old. 

According to Austria’s Der Standard newspaper, Mossaheb had travelled to Iran to accompany a delegation from an Austrian research centre which had opened a subsidiary near Tehran.

After his detention in January 2019, his family had no contact with him for weeks before eventually learning that he was being held in Tehran’s Evin prison.

The Austrian-Iranian Society says its aim is to foster closer ties between the two countries, particularly in the economic sphere.

Esmaili also said five more people had been arrested recently for alleged espionage in the foreign, defence and industries ministries, companies working in the energy industry, and Iran’s atomic agency.

He did not give their identities or elaborate on their charges, but Iran is known for arresting and convicting those accused of spying on behalf of foreign countries, including the US and Israel.

MI6 is the foreign intelligence service of the United Kingdom government and is tasked with overseas collection and analysis of human intelligence to support national security

In July, Iran executed Reza Asgari, a former defense ministry employee convicted of spying on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Mahmoud Mousavi Majd, a member of the Revolutionary Guard, was also executed last month. 

He was convicted of providing information to the US and Israel about top Guard general Qassem Soleiman.  

A court found him guilty of receiving large amounts of money from the CIA and Mossad to supply information on the Quds force, Soleimani headed, including the whereabouts of its commander.

However, Majd was not directly involved in the killing of Soleimani at Baghdad airport on January 3, having been arrested two years ago. 

Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike moments after he arrived in Iraq amid fears he was about to orchestrate attacks on the US embassy. 

The move brought Iran and the US to the brink of war, and in the end Tehran retaliated by firing a volley of ballistic missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq. 

Mahmoud Mousavi Majd (left), a translator who worked with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, has been executed for helping the US carry out the raid which killed Qassem Soleimani (right)

In June this year, Iran hanged Jalal Hajizavar, also a former staffer of the defense ministry, after he had admitted in court he was paid to spy for the CIA.  

Tehran announced in December it had arrested eight people ‘linked to the CIA’ and involved in nationwide street protests that erupted the previous month over a surprise petrol price hike.

It also said in July 2019 that it had dismantled a CIA spy ring, arrested 17 suspects between March 2018 and March 2019 and sentenced some of them to death.

Trump at the time dismissed the claim as ‘totally false’.  

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