Iran has executed a former employee of the defense ministry who was convicted of spying on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency, the country's judiciary said Tuesday. The report said Reza Asgari was executed last week. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said Asgari had worked in the airspace department of the ministry and retired in 2016.-
Russia and China will be isolated at the United Nations if they continue down the “road to dystopia” by blocking a U.S. bid to extend a weapons ban on Iran, U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook told Reuters ahead of his formal pitch of the embargo to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday. The 13-year-old arms restrictions on Iran are due to expire in October under the terms of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Tehran says it has sentenced an Iranian man to death for spying on behalf of the United States and Israel against Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general who was killed in an American air strike earlier this year.
Soleimani was killed in a drone attack in Iraq on January 3rd, although Iran says that the espionage case is not related to his assassination.
Iran says the man, Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, was arrested much earlier, in October 2018.
An Iranian judiciary spokesman said that he, quote, ”shared information about the whereabouts of martyr Soleimani with our enemies”.
Adding that his death sentence has been upheld by a supreme court and “he will be executed soon.”
Washington blamed Soleimani, the second most powerful man in Iran at the time, for masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.
Officials have not said whether Mousavi-Majd’s case is linked to Iran’s announcement last summer that it had captured 17 spies working for the CIA, nor have they said whether it’s linked to another announcement in February that it had sentenced a man to death for spying for the CIA and attempting to pass on information about Tehran’s nuclear program.
As tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S., the Islamic Republic appears to have constructed a new mock-up of an aircraft carrier off its southern coast for potential live-fire drills. The faux foe, seen in satellite photographs obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, resembles the Nimitz-class carriers that the U.S. Navy routinely sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz, its narrow mouth where 20% of all the world’s oil passes through. While not yet acknowledged by Iranian officials, the replica’s appearance in the port city of Bandar Abbas suggests Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard is preparing an encore of a similar mock-sinking it conducted in 2015.
Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran detained in Iran since 2018, was freed last Thursday as part of a deal in which the United States allowed Iranian-American physician Majid Taheri to visit Iran – a rare instance of U.S.-Iranian cooperation. White’s release came two days after the United States deported Sirous Asgari, an Iranian professor imprisoned in the United States despite having being acquitted of stealing trade secrets.
An Iranian warship was accidentally hit by a missile during exercises in the Gulf of Oman, killing at least one, state television said Monday, amid tensions with the US in the waterway. One report said the vessel had sunk after being hit by a missile fired by another Iranian warship. “The vessel was hit after moving a practice target to its destination and not creating enough distance between itself and the target,” state television said on its website.
The head of the US Space Command said the Pentagon believes that Iran’s first successful launch of a military satellite into space does not pose any intelligence threat. The Nour satellite placed into orbit on April 22 is classified by the US military as a small 3U Cubesat, three adjoined units each no more than a liter in volume and less than 1.3 kilograms (one pound) each, said General Jay Raymond in a tweet late Sunday. “Iran states it has imaging capabilities — actually, it’s a tumbling webcam in space; unlikely providing intel,” he wrote.
Iran called Thursday for the US to be held accountable for “cruel” sanctions that have hampered its efforts to fight a coronavirus outbreak that it said claimed another 90 lives. It accuses its arch enemy the United States of making the crisis worse through sanctions imposed unilaterally since Washington pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. The latest fatalities given by the health ministry for the past 24 hours took the overall death toll in Iran from the coronavirus to 5,481.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country’s sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani’s official website said on Monday.
Iran will never ask the United States for help in the fight against the new coronavirus, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected offers from Washington of humanitarian assistance for Iran, the Middle Eastern country so far worst-affected by the coronavirus, with 3,739 deaths and 60,500 people infected according to the latest figures on Monday.
A senior Iranian official Tuesday ruled out “foreign” help on the ground to deal with the coronavirus epidemic after an offer from a France-based medical charity, as the country’s death toll from the illness neared 2,000. “Due to Iran’s national mobilisation against the virus and the full use of the medical capacity of the armed forces, it is not necessary for now for hospital beds to be set up by foreign forces, and their presence is ruled out,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, advisor to Iran’s health minister, said on Twitter. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour earlier said a record 1,762 new cases have been confirmed in Iran over the past 24 hours and 24,811 people are now known to have been infected with the new coronavirus.
Iran has granted a medical furlough to a U.S. Navy veteran who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday. Michael White of Imperial Beach, California, is now in the custody of the Swiss Embassy and must remain in Iran as a condition of his furlough, which was granted as Iran works to curb the spread of coronavirus. The U.S. government will seek his full release, Pompeo said, and he called on Iran to free other Americans who remain jailed there.
Iran will recognize doctors and nurses who die combating the new coronavirus as “martyrs” like slain soldiers, the country’s supreme leader announced Tuesday as the outbreak killed 54 more people and pushed the nation’s death toll to 291. The decision by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei comes amid a propaganda campaign already trying to link the fight against the virus to Iran’s long, bloody 1980s war with Iraq. The rising casualty figures each day in Iran suggest the fight against the new coronavirus is far from over, even as more people die from drinking methanol in the false belief it kills the virus.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faced intense criticism Friday from Democrats on Capitol Hill, who questioned him on the Trump administration's response to the growing coronavirus threat, as well as the persistent threat from foes like Iran.
According to reports, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad — where Soleimani was killed — has been hit in a rocket attack. It’s said to have been the second such attack in days. No word yet on any American casualties, but civilian casualties have been…