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Iran Sentences 'Mossad Agent' To Death Over Scientist Killings


Iran--Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi,Tehran's prosecutor, during a general meeting on Tuesday November 23, 2016.

(Reuters) - Iran has sentenced to death a person found guilty of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists,

Tehran's prosecutor said on Tuesday. At least four scientists were killed between 2010 and 2012 in what Tehran said was a program of assassinations aimed at sabotaging its nuclear energy program.

Iran hanged one man in 2012 over the killings, saying he had links to Israel. On the latest conviction, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told the judiciary's news agency: "The person had several meetings with (Israeli intelligence agency) Mossad and provided them with sensitive information about Iran's military and nuclear sites in return for money and residency in Sweden."

The headline of the report described the convicted person as a "Mossad agent". Dolatabadi did not identify the defendant, but Amnesty International said on Monday that Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian doctor who studied and taught in Sweden, had been sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges.

Amnesty said the court verdict states that Djalali worked with the Israeli government and that it subsequently helped him obtain a residency permit in Sweden. Neither Iran nor Amnesty said when the verdict was issued.

Sweden condemned the sentence and said it had brought the matter up at high-level meetings with Iranian representatives in Stockholm and Tehran.

"We condemn the use of the death penalty in all its forms. The death penalty is an inhuman, cruel and irreversible punishment that has no place in modern law," Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in an emailed comment.

Djalali was arrested in April 2016 and held without access to a lawyer for seven months, three of which were in solitary confinement, according to London-based Amnesty.

"Djalali was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial that once again exposes not only the Iranian authorities' steadfast commitment to (the) use of the death penalty but their utter contempt for the rule of law," said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East advocacy director.

The United States has denied Iran's accusation that it was involved in the scientists' deaths, while Israel has a policy of not commenting on such allegations.

Dolatabadi said the convicted person gave Mossad information about 30 nuclear and military scientists including Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was killed by a remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle outside his home in Tehran.

The judiciary said the defendant was also linked to the assassination of nuclear engineer Majid Shahriari, killed in a bomb attack in November 2010.

Djalali's wife Vida Mehrannia, who lives in Sweden with their two children, has told Amnesty that his physical and mental health has sharply deteriorated since he was detained. "We are calling for his release because he has not committed any crime," Amnesty quoted her as saying.

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