Iran court upholds death penalty for four over ‘Israel links’

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Iran’s supreme court on Wednesday upheld the death penalty for four men accused of working with the intelligence services of Israel, the Islamic Republic’s arch enemy, the judiciary said.

The four were sentenced to death for “their intelligence cooperation with the Zionist regime (Israel) and kidnapping,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website reported, adding there was no recourse to appeal.

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It identified the men as Hossein Ordoukhanzadeh, Shahin Imani Mahmoudabad, Milad Ashrafi Atbatan and Manouchehr Shahbandi Bojandi, without elaborating on their backgrounds.

Mizan Online said three other defendants were sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison for crimes against the country’s security, complicity in kidnapping and possession of weapons.

Iran and Israel have been engaged in a years-long shadow war, with the Islamic Republic accusing its arch-foe of carrying out sabotage attacks against its nuclear sites and assassinations of key figures, including scientists.

On May 22, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said it had arrested members of “a network acting under the direction of the Israeli intelligence service.”

“These people committed theft, destruction of personal and public property, kidnapping and extortion of false confessions,” a Guards statement said at the time.

In late July, Iran reported the arrest of agents linked to Israel’s Mossad, alleging they were members of a banned Kurdish rebel group that was planning to target “sensitive sites.”

The latest court ruling comes at a time of heightened tensions in Iran after more than two months of protests sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini.

The 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin died on September 16 after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s dress code for women.

An Iranian general said on Monday that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest, including dozens of security force members, and thousands have been arrested, among them around 40 foreigners.

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