Iran hangs Mossad spy, busts 4-man terror squad

TEHRAN, Nov. 22 (MNA) -- The director of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry’s Counterespionage Department announced here on Saturday that Iranian citizen Ali Ashtari, who was found guilty of spying for Israel, was executed last Monday (November 17, 2008).

“Ashtari was executed and his body was delivered to his family,” the official said. 


“After legal proceedings, the sentence for this person, who was convicted of spying, was declared and finally enacted.”


He stated that espionage does not necessarily warrant execution, but added that Ashtari’s acts were so treacherous that all levels of the Judiciary endorsed the death sentence during the legal process.


During his trial, Ashtari confessed that he had provided sensitive information on Iranian military, defense, and research centers to the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service.


Ashtari was a 43-year-old tradesman in electronic merchandise who supplied electronic devices to Iranian military bases and research centers.


The Intelligence Ministry official said Ashtari spied for Mossad for three years and even contacted some foreign embassies in Tehran to establish contact with several foreign intelligence agencies.


The convicted spy provided information to the Mossad in meetings with Israeli agents and also through electronic devices, he explained.


Ashtari even gave some suggestions to the Mossad, the official said.


During the 20-month-period that he was in prison, he elaborated further on his espionage activities, and these clarifications showed what type of information the Israeli intelligence service is seeking inside Iran, he added.


A number of charges were filed against Ashtari, including trying to break into sensitive centers to obtain information for the Mossad, introducing some persons to the Mossad and arranging for them to meet Mossad agents outside the country, selling defective equipment to certain defense and research centers, and providing misleading information to some security and defense centers.


The official said all the convict’s actions were carried out under the direction of the Mossad.


Ashtari’s confessions showed that the enemies are resorting to various ploys to receive information from Iran, he noted.


The Intelligence Ministry official said the Ashtari case should serve as an example to people thinking about becoming spies.


He went on to say that Iran’s counterespionage system is very efficient in preventing Western intelligence services, the Mossad, and the intelligence services of neighboring countries from realizing their goals.


However, officials and managers of sensitive companies must be more cautious about enemy plots, he added.


Iran busts 4-man terror squad


The Intelligence Ministry official also announced that Iranian intelligence agents have arrested a four-man group that was active in Iraqi Kurdistan and was seeking to assassinate “some persons”.


This group had Israeli arms in their possession and used Israeli tactics, the official said.


But they were arrested before they could carry out any terrorist act, he explained, without mentioning exactly when the men were detained.


The official refused to give further details on the case, saying it could compromise investigations of similar groups. He added that the Intelligence Ministry will reveal further details at the proper time.


Ron Arad issue has become a spy trap


Israeli captain Ron Arad went missing on October 16, 1986 after parachuting out of his Phantom jet during an attack on Lebanese territory. At the time, some unofficial sources claimed that he was captured by Lebanese and Palestinian groups but provided no evidence substantiating their statements. 


Later, Israel started regional and global efforts to obtain information about the pilot and even claimed that he was being held by Iran.


After Israeli diplomatic efforts failed to secure information about Ron Arad, the Mossad launched a comprehensive espionage action in 2005 to obtain information about his whereabouts, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry official said.


The Mossad offered a $10 million reward, launched an intense propaganda campaign through the Western media, the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization, and groups affiliated to the deposed Pahlavi regime, and established a website and freedom foundation in London, he added.


Unfortunately, some Iranian citizens contacted some centers in the Islamic Republic to obtain information for the Mossad, he explained.


However, some of the Iranians tricked the Mossad into paying them a great deal of money, he said.


He said the Ron Arad issue has become a spy trap for the Mossad, adding that it is beneath the dignity of Iranian citizens to allow themselves to fall into such traps.





News Code 30953

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