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Iran executes former defense employee it says was a CIA spy

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani chairing a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Jan. 8.
(Iranian Presidency/AFP via Getty)

Iran has executed a former employee of the defense ministry who was convicted of spying on behalf of the CIA, the country’s judiciary said Tuesday. It was the second such execution in the past month.

The report said Reza Asgari was executed last week. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said Asgari had worked in the airspace department of the ministry and retired in 2016.

“In the last years of his service, he joined the CIA, he sold information about our missiles ... to the CIA and took money from them,” Esmaili said. “He was identified, tried and sentenced to death.”

Iran occasionally announces arrests and convictions of alleged spies for foreign countries, including the U.S. and Israel.

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In June, Iran said another alleged spy, Jalal Hajizavar, was hanged in a prison near Tehran. The report said Hajizavar — also a former staffer of the defense ministry — had admitted in court that he was paid to spy for the CIA. The report said authorities had also confiscated espionage equipment from his residence. It said the court sentenced Hajizavar’s wife to 15 years in prison for her role in the espionage.

Before that, in 2016, Iran executed a nuclear scientist convicted of spying for the United States.


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