TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran yesterday executed a former translator convicted of spying for the United States (US) and Israel, including helping to locate a top Iranian general killed later by the Americans, the judiciary said.
The killing of Major General Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in January brought decades-old arch enemies Iran and the US to the brink of conflict.
The judiciary’s Mizan Online website said Mahmoud Mousavi Majd’s death “sentence was carried out yesterday morning over the charge of espionage so that the case of his betrayal to his country will be closed forever”.
Its spokesman said earlier this month that Majd had been sentenced to death for spying on “various security fields, especially the armed forces and the Quds Force and the whereabouts and movements of martyr General Qasem Soleimani”.
Majd had been found guilty of receiving large sums of money from both the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s Mossad, said the spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili.
Soleimani headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iran retaliated for his death by firing a volley of ballistic missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq, but US President Donald Trump opted against responding militarily.
Majd was arrested some two years ago and was not directly involved in the killing of Soleimani in Baghdad, according to a statement the judiciary issued in June.
Majd had migrated to Syria in the 1970s with his family and worked as an English and Arabic language translator at a company, Mizan Online said.
When war broke out, he chose to stay in the country while his family left.
“His knowledge of Arabic and familiarity with Syria’s geography made him close to Iranian military advisers and he took responsibilities in groups stationed from Idlib to Latakia,” the site added.
Majd was not a member of the Revolutionary Guards “but infiltrated many sensitive areas under the cover of being a translator”.
He was found to have been paid “American dollars to reveal information on adviser convoys, military equipment and communication systems, commanders and their movements, important geographical areas, codes and passwords” until he came under scrutiny and his access was downgraded.