Iran on Tuesday said that it will execute one of its citizens for providing information to the Central Intelligence Agency that led to the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in January, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
“Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, one of the spies for CIA and Mossad has been sentenced to death,” Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili was quoted as saying by the news agency. “He gave the whereabouts of martyr Soleimani to our enemies.”
Esmaili added that Majd spied on Iran’s armed forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force “in exchange for American dollars” and had been collecting information on Soleimani’s movements.
Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in an United States airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport early on January 3. The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Iran retaliated by attacking US bases in Iraq.
On January 4, United States President Donald Trump had owned up to the assassination, alleging that Soleimani had contributed to “terror plots as far away as New Delhi and London”. He had then promised “major retaliation” if Iran tried to avenge Soleimani’s killing, and threatened to bomb Iranian cultural sites.
The escalated tensions between the two nations also led to a passenger plane crash. A Ukrainian International Airlines flight crashed on the outskirts of Tehran after being hit by Iranian missiles on January 8. Iran had on January 20 admitted to accidentally hitting the plane with missiles. The crash killed all 176 people on board, sparking international outrage.