Iran arrests alleged spies for UK, Germany, Israel

Iran executed men it said spied for the United States and Israel last month.

al-monitor Demonstrators protest against Iran's President Hassan Rouhani outside the United Nations headquarters, where Rouhani addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York on Sept. 22, 2016. Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images.

Topics covered

iranian-israeli conflict, us-iranian conflict, germany, uk, iranian government, espionage

Aug 11, 2020

Iran arrested five people for allegedly spying on the Islamic Republic for other countries, according to the state-run press.

Five Iranians are now in detention on espionage charges, Press TV reported on Tuesday, citing judicial officials. They worked in the foreign and defense ministries, the oil sector and at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and spied for Israel, the United Kingdom and Germany, according to the news outlet.

Masoud Mosaheb was sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying for Israel and Germany. Shahram Shirkhani was also sentenced to prison for passing defense and bank-related information to the United Kingdom and attempting to recruit other Iranians to spy, according to Press TV. The outlet did not provide further details on the alleged espionage.

Iran’s justice system has been criticized for unfair trials by international observers.

The news follows reports of Iran executing people recently for spying. In July, Iran executed a translator it said spied on Iranian forces for the United States and Israel. The same month, Iran executed a former defense official for purportedly selling missile information to the United States.

The arrests come at a time of high tensions between Iran and its enemies, including the United States and Israel. The United States is currently working to extend an UN weapons embargo on Iran that expires in October. There are also rumors that Israel is responsible for a series of mysterious explosions and fires that have been happening for weeks in Iran, including at nuclear facilities.

The United States, Israel and Gulf states oppose Iranian policies in the Middle East. The United States says Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, which Iran denies. Iran also supports proxy groups that fight Israel in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia in Yemen and the United States in Iraq.

Continue reading this article by registering at no cost and get unlimited access to:
  • Al-Monitor Archives
  • The Week in Review
  • Exclusive Events
  • Invitation-only Briefings