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IRAN: Man convicted of spying for Israel hangs

November 22, 2008 |  9:21 am

Iran_spy An Iranian businessman convicted of spying for Israel has been executed, according to a statement released today by Iran’s judiciary.

Ali Ashtari was reportedly hanged on Monday. The manager of a telecommunications and security equipment company who dealt with the Iranian military, Ashtari was arrested in 2006 and found guilty of cooperating with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

The judiciary statement said: "Ashtari, during the three years of cooperation with Mossad, had carried out a wide-range of activities in favor of Mossad and on some occasions he succeeded in creating good conditions for Israelis."

Iranian state TV showed the balding Ashtari calmly giving what was billed as the confession of a Mossad spy. Ashtari reportedly met with Israeli spooks abroad who gave him surveillance technology to monitor high ranking officials in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

“The Israeli spies gave him equipment with built in bugs to be sold to high ranking (military) officials so that Mossad could eavesdrop on everything they said on phones and other telecommunication devices,” said an Iranian journalist who asked not to be named. “He was also given names of Iranian officials and high ranking military people to try to woo them abroad so that Israelis could co-opt them and make them their spies or encourage them to defect”

The charges against Ashtari could not be independently verified. In his confession, Ashtari said: "It was my mistake. .  . I kept choosing the wrong path. Do not repeat the mistakes that I made."

Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo

Convicted spy Ali Ashtari. Credit: Reuters