Middle East

Iran executes man convicted of selling missile information to CIA

A handout photo shows a missile being fired from a mobile launch vehicle during an Iranian military exercise in the Gulf of Oman (18 June 2020) Image copyright EPA
Image caption Iran's missile arsenal is the largest and most diverse in the Middle East

Iran says it has executed a former defence ministry employee convicted of selling information to the US.

The execution of Reza Asgari took place last week, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told reporters.

Mr Esmaili said that Asgari had passed on details about Iran's missile programme to the Central Intelligence Agency after retiring from the defence ministry's aerospace division in 2016.

He did not mention when Asgari was arrested, put on trial or sentenced.

Mr Esmaili made the announcement while responding to a question about another man convicted of spying, Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd.

He has been sentenced to death for providing intelligence to the CIA and Israel's Mossad intelligence agency on the movements of Iranian forces in Syria.

There was no immediate comment from US officials about Asgari's execution.

Last July, Iran's intelligence ministry said it had arrested 17 people accused of collecting information on the country's nuclear and military sectors for the CIA. The ministry said some had been sentenced to death but did not name them.

US President Donald Trump dismissed that announcement as "totally false".

The previous month, a former contractor for Iran's defence ministry, Jalal Hajizavar, was executed after being found guilty of espionage. Hajizavar was said to have confessed that he had been paid to spy for the CIA.