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Israeli Mossad spy executed on charges of releasing classified information, claims Iran

ran and Israel, largely known as bitter foes, have accused each other of spying and waging a shadow war for several years. Israel sees Iran as its greatest threat and has repeatedly threatened to take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, which Tehran has denied seeking.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Tehran Published on: December 16, 2023 14:44 IST
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Iran has claimed to have executed a spy from Israel's Mossad agency on charges of involvement in releasing classified information, according to a report by Iranian state media. The spy was allegedly related to foreign intelligence services and he was executed in a prison in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchistan province in southeast Iran.

The person is yet to be identified. Iran and Israel, largely known as bitter foes, have accused each other of spying and waging a shadow war for several years. Israel sees Iran as its greatest threat and has repeatedly threatened to take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, even rallying against a proposed US-Iran nuclear deal in 2015.

On the other hand, Iran has denied seeking such weapons and vowed a harsh response to any aggression by Israel. In April last year, Iranian intelligence officers arrested three people they said belonged to a group linked to Mossad, although it is unclear whether the executed spy is among them.

Iran occasionally announces the detention of people it claims are spying for foreign countries, including its arch-rivals United States and Israel. Iran executed a man in 2020 on charges of releasing information to theb US and Israel about a prominent Iranian general who was later killed in an American drone struike on Iraq.

Iran and Israel are longtime foes of each other, with the latter refusing to recognise the Jewish state and supporting armed groups like Hezbollah and Hamas that have been engaged in bitter conflicts with Israel for several years, including the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

Iran in the Israel-Hamas war

The tensions between Iran and Israel have been thrown into sharp detail due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, where the Iran-backed Gaza-based militant group attacked the country on October 7, killing 1,200 people. The resultant Israeli retaliation has devastated much of Gaza and killed over 19,000 Palestinians in the besieged territory.

The intervention of groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthis in Yemen has also raised speculations about Iran's involvement in the conflict and threatened to widen it into a larger regional conflict. While Israeli forces are continuously engaged in rocket fires and airstrikes with Hezbollah near the Lebanese border, the Houthis in Yemen have proceeded to attack Israel-linked ships in the Red Sea, expressing solidarity with Palestine.

However, reports suggest that Iran has not reaped the strategic gains from the conflict between Israel and Hamas while exacting a tremendous diplomatic and financial prize. Furthermore, Iran's allies like Russia and China have not declared their full support for Hamas and have instead called for a ceasefire, meaning that Tehran is unlikely to get the surge of support it needs.

This explains why Iran has also declared its intentions of a de-escalation of war between Israel and Hamas, while maintaining its position that the Jewish state is committing "genocide" in Gaza. During a conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, Iranian President Ebraham Raisi highlighted that Israel killed the "oppressed" and innocent women and children, along with attacking hospitals, schools, mosques, churches and residential areas. 

"Palestinian resistance groups have a legitimate right to confront the occupation of the usurping Zionist regime and all countries must support the Palestinian people's struggle for freedom from oppression," he said.

(with inputs from AP)

ALSO READ | Iran becomes fifth country to allow visa-free entry for Indian travellers | Details inside

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