Iran convicts 4 on espionage charges

In mid-September, Iran charged three detained Australians with spying, after the reported arrest of a travel-blogging couple and an academic. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 01 October 2019

Iran convicts 4 on espionage charges

  • Gholamhossein Esmaili said four people were convicted on charges of spying for the United States or Britain

TEHRAN: Iran’s judiciary on Tuesday announced it had convicted four people on charges of spying for the United States or Britain, sentencing one of them to death.
“Last week, a person accused of espionage for an American (intelligence) service was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a press conference.
Esmaili did not name the accused but said the identity would be revealed if the verdict is confirmed by the supreme court.
The spokesman also did disclose the names of the other three, each sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Ali Nafariyeh and Mohammad-Ali Babapour were convicted of spying for the US and fined $55,000, the amount they were allegedly paid for collaborating with Washington.
Mohammad Amin-Nassab was found guilty of spying for Britain.
Tehran announced in July it had dismantled a CIA spy ring, arresting 17 suspects and sentencing some of them to death.
Iranian authorities said the arrests were carried out between March 2018 and March 2019.
US President Donald Trump dismissed the claim as “totally false.”
In mid-September, Iran charged three detained Australians with spying, after the reported arrest of a travel-blogging couple and an academic.


Iran’s threat to destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon condemned

Updated 47 min 4 sec ago

Iran’s threat to destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon condemned

  • Lebanon is not an arena for external use by any country, says information minister

BEIRUT: A statement by a senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has triggered a series of condemnations in Lebanon, after he claimed the country could be used for military strikes.

Maj. Gen. Morteza Qorbani told Mizan News: “If the Zionist regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon,” according to Russia Today, adding he claimed his words were “a response to Israeli statements about launching military action against Tehran.”

“Iran is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and Israel is too small to make any mistake toward Iran. If the Supreme Leader orders a missile attack against Israel, all Zionists will raise their hands and surrender. 

“The hearts and souls of the people of Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq are with Iran, and the recent events in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran aim to strike the unity of the resistance front, including the Islamic Republic.”

In response to the statement, Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab said: “If what is attributed to (Qorbani) is correct, it is unacceptable and it is a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon, which has a relationship of friendship with Iran.”

The minister, who belongs to the Free Patriotic Movement allied to Hezbollah, stressed: “The independence of the Lebanese must not be affected in any way.”

Farid Al-Bustani, a member of the parliamentary bloc affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement, said: “If this is true, it is a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon on the one hand and the status and immunity of the resistance on the other.”

FASTFACTS

● Iran’s Gen. Morteza Qorbani told Mizan News: ‘If the Zionist regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon.’

● Lebanon’s Minister of Information Jamal Al-Jarrah described the words as ‘irresponsible and arrogant, constituting an affront to the sovereignty of Lebanon, the people and the state.’

Minister of Information Jamal Al-Jarrah described the words as “irresponsible and arrogant, constituting an affront to the sovereignty of Lebanon, the people and the state.

“Iran can defend itself however it wants, but Lebanon is not a mailbox for the IRGC and is not an arena for external use by any country. These words are completely unacceptable.”

The president of the Independence Movement, Michel Moawad, criticized Qorbani’s statement, while member of Parliament Nadim Gemayel demanded a “clear position on these words from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, President of the Republic Michel Aoun and from (Prime Minister) Saad Hariri.”

Hezbollah’s Ibrahim Al-Moussawi tweeted: “In light of the enemy’s (Israeli) occupation of Palestine, parts of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the threat against Egypt, and the Zionist appetite open to our oil, gas and water, any call to neutrality is misleading and suspicious, and it is a betrayal of the homeland, right and justice, and meets the enemy’s goals intentionally or unintentionally.

“Neutrality is at best a delusion and at its worst is treachery. Reject it.”