The Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced on Saturday morning that Ali Ashtari, an Iranian citizen found guilty of espionage on Israel’s behalf, was executed. The report was published by Iranian news agency ISNA.
Formerly the owner of an electronics import business, the 43-year-old resident of Tehran was convicted in June of spying in exchange for Israeli monetary payment. He reportedly confessed in court to meeting with three Mossad agents who gave him money and electronic equipment for distribution amongst Iranian security officials. Iranian media reported Ashtari expressed remorse for his actions.
"Iran is too intelligent to believe the lies the enemy's agents are trying to tell it," Ashtari told reporters at the courthouse. It is believed his statement was dictated by the Iranian Intelligence.
Ashtari further told reporters that his business was based mostly on importing wireless communication devices from Dubai, "since besides imports I was also doing some planning and consulting work, so they (Israel) asked me about the communications' infrastructure in Iran."
According to court records, Ashtari said that the Mossad gave him $50,000 as a business loan, "to buy merchandise to sell in Iran"
Iran is keen on portraying itself as having the upper hand in the intelligence war it says is being waged against it from the West.
Last week an Iranian site, Jahan, reported one of the Islamic Republic’s most popular bloggers, Hossein Derakshan, was arrested in Tehran after visiting Israel.
The website quoted "credible sources" as saying that Derakhshan was questioned by the authorities and admitted to spying for Israel.
In August an Iranian woman accused of involvement in the bombing of a Shiraz mosque earlier in the year was also sentenced to death. She too was accused of having been in contact with Israeli intelligence