Iran has hanged a former staff member of the Defense Ministry’s aerospace division on charges of spying for the CIA, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
Iranian authorities confirmed an earlier report by the watchdog group Iran Human Rights (IRH) that said Seyyed Jamal Haji-Zavareh had been executed last week on charges of “spying for an enemy state and the CIA.”
Haji-Zavareh was executed at the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, after he allegedly confessed in court that the CIA paid him to spy on the Iranian regime.
State media charged that the accused “explicitly confessed to spying” in return for money, adding that “documents and espionage devices were found at his house.” His wife was also sentenced to 15 years in prison for her alleged role in the operation.
Prior to his arrest in September 2017, Haji-Zavareh was an employee of the aerospace division of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an entity designated by United States as a foreign terrorist organization that is heavily involved in the development of Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran regularly executes individuals accused of an array of crimes not considered capital offenses by international law and uses forced confessions to validate the prosecution of individuals that it has no evidence against.
In 2016, Iran executed a nuclear scientist convicted of spying for the United States.
The Islamic Republic arrested, imprisoned, or executed at least 860 journalists in the three decades between the 1979 revolution and 2009, according to leaked Iranian justice department documents.
Last week, Iranian authorities claimed that they had dismantled a “new” U.S. spy network in the country linked to the CIA, amid escalating tensions between Iran and the United States.
In what it termed a “wide-reaching blow” to U.S. intelligence, Iran said it had carried out the operation in cooperation with “foreign allies,” without naming any state.