Mizan news agency reported on Sunday that four prisoners have been executed on the charge of "collaboration with Israel". This comes amid reports of protesters facing heavy sentences as mass anti-government protests continue across Iran.
Four citizens, named Hossein Ordukhanzadeh, Shahin Imani Mahmudabad, Milad Ashrafi Atbatan and Manochehr Shahbandi Bejondi, were arrested in June of this year, charged with "intelligence cooperation" with Israel and "kidnapping”. They were subsequently sentenced to death.
The judiciary’s news agency claimed in a report on Sunday that the four citizens were associated with a network managed and directed by the "Zionist regime intelligence service" and attempted to "steal and destroy personal and public property, kidnap and obtain forced confessions through a network of thugs." They were arrested with the cooperation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence, according to the report.
Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and refers to it as the Zionist regime.
The news agency also reported that three other people involved in the case have been sentenced to five to 10 years in prison for "acting against the security of the country, assisting in kidnapping and being in possession of weapons."
This is not the first time the Islamic Republic has arrested and executed its people for allegedly collaborating with the Israeli government.
The Ministry of Intelligence arrested dozens of people in the 2010s, amid the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, for their cooperation with foreign security services, especially Israel, and forced them to confess.
One of those arrested, Maziar Ebrahimi, revealed following his release in 2019 that all 53 accused in the "assassination case of nuclear scientists" were released after it was established that "no charges of assassination were assigned to them.”
Twelve of the arrested persons "confessed" to being involved in the assassination in a 2012 TV appearance, and one of them, Majid Jamali Fashi, was executed.
A man named Mahmoud Mousavi Majid, a member of the Quds Force with an active presence in Syria, was arrested and then executed on the charge of "spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency and the Mossad in Israel" in July 2020.
In July of this year, following a report by the Iran International TV network, the news of Mossad forces interrogating an IRGC official in Iran named Yadollah Khedmati made headlines. This came shortly after Iran's Channel 2 TV network, aired a report accusing the Israeli spy agency of "using thugs”.
Mizan’s news agency used a similar phrase when reporting the execution on Sunday of the four prisoners, referring to them as “thugs”.