An Iranian citizen who provided information to U.S. and Israeli intelligence services on the whereabouts of Iran's slain top commander Qassem Soleimani will be executed soon, Iran's judiciary said on Tuesday.
On January 3, a U.S. drone strike in Iraq killed Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force. Washington blamed Soleimani for masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.
"Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, one of the spies for CIA and Mossad has been sentenced to death. He gave the whereabouts of martyr Soleimani to our enemies," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said in a televised news conference.
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Following Soleimani's killing Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on Iraq's Ain al-Asad base where U.S. forces were stationed on Jan. 8. No U.S. troops were killed or faced immediate bodily injury, but hundreds were later diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.
Officials have not said whether Mousavi-Majd's case is linked to Iran’s announcement last summer that it had captured 17 spies working for the CIA, some of whom it said were sentenced to death.
The United States, Israel and Iran are fighting an overt war of words, and a covert war of deeds, with fronts varying in intensity in the Gulf, Syria and online. Earlier this year, an Israeli citizen was convicted of spying for Iran.
Facing major economic woes, fuelled by drastic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, and exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak, Iran has adopted an even more confrontational stance. A crowded political field seems to be tipping further into the hands of the country's conservative wing, as Tehran starts to prepare for its 2021 presidential election.