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Iran to execute 'CIA informant' who spied on Qassem Soleimani

Iran claims Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd informed US and Israeli intelligence of slain Quds Force commander's whereabouts
A US drone strike in Iraq on 3 January killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force (AFP)

An Iranian who Tehran says spied for US and Israeli intelligence on Qassem Soleimani has been sentenced to death, Iran said on Tuesday, adding the case was not linked to Soleimani's killing earlier this year.

A US drone strike in Iraq on 3 January killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force. 

Washington blamed Soleimani for masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias on US 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'

- Gholamhossein Esmaili, judiciary spokesman

"Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, one of the spies for CIA and Mossad, has been sentenced to death,"  judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said in a televised news conference.

"He gave the whereabouts of martyr Soleimani to our enemies.

"He passed on security information to the Israeli and American intelligence agencies about Iran's armed forces, particularly the Guards.

"He was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court and a supreme court has upheld his death sentence. He will be executed soon."

Later, the judiciary said in a statement that Mousavi-Majd's conviction was not linked to "the terrorist act of the US government" in Soleimani's killing in Iraq.

"All the legal proceedings in the case of this spy... had been carried out long before the martyrdom of Soleimani," the statement said, adding that Mousavi-Majd had been arrested in October 2018.

Paid in US dollars

The Iranian Students News Agency reported Esmaili as saying that Mousavi-Majd had been paid in US dollars for his information.

Soleimani killing: The unintended consequences
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Officials have not said whether Mousavi-Majd's case is linked to Iran's announcement in February that a man had been sentenced to death for spying for the CIA and attempting to pass on information about Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Last summer, Iran said that it had captured 17 spies working for the CIA, some of whom it said were sentenced to death.

Soleimani's killing led to a peak in confrontation between Iran and the United States. 

Tehran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where US forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.