Three men and one woman accused of being ‘saboteurs’ were hanged for their ‘collaboration with the Zionist regime’.
Iran has executed three men and one woman who were convicted for their alleged links to Israel’s Mossad spy agency, according to media affiliated with the judiciary.
“Four members of a sabotage group related to the Zionist regime … were hanged this morning” in Iran’s northwestern province of West Azerbaijan, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported on Friday.
Mizan identified those executed as three men – Vafa Hanareh, Aram Omari and Rahman Parhazo – and one woman, Nasim Namazi, who were sentenced to death on charges of “moharebeh”, an Islamic legal term meaning “waging war against God”, and “corruption on Earth” through their “collaboration with the Zionist regime”, referring to Israel.
The group “committed extensive actions against the country’s security under the guidance of the Mossad”, Mizan reported.
The four were charged with kidnapping Iranian security forces to extract intelligence and were also accused of setting fire to the cars and apartments of some agents.
Several others working with the same group were each sentenced to 10 years in jail, Mizan said, without providing additional details.
Iranian intelligence put the group under surveillance for at least four months, starting in January 2022 until their arrest that May, when they were “transferred from a neighbouring country” to Iran, according to the state-run news agency IRNA.
Iran does not recognise Israel and the two countries have engaged in a shadow war for years.
On December 16, a man convicted of working for Mossad was executed in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.
The Islamic republic hanged four people in December 2022 who had been convicted of collaborating with Israel’s intelligence services.
Iran accuses Israel of carrying out a wave of attacks and assassinations targeting its nuclear programme. In August, Iran accused Israel of being behind “one of the largest sabotage plots” targeting its defence industry and missile production.
According to rights groups, including Amnesty International, Iran executes more people per year than any other nation except China.
In May, United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk said Iran had an “abominable” track record of executions in 2023 with an average of more than 10 people hanged each week.
More than 600 people have been executed by Iran so far this year, already the highest figure in eight years, said the Norway-based Iran Human Rights group in a November report. In 2015, Iran carried out 972 death sentences, according to the UN.
Iran has issued death sentences and executed people detained during last year’s anti-government protests, which were triggered in September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who was arrested by “morality police” in Tehran for allegedly not adhering to a mandatory dress code for women.