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Five Iranian nationals have been arrested on charges of spying for Israel, the US, Britain and Germany, according to Iranian judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili, Reuters reported Tuesday (Aug. 11).

At least two of the five have each already been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, Esmaili said in a virtual news conference that was broadcast on Iranian state television.


The judiciary official said Shahram Shirkhani spied for Britain’s MI6 intelligence, and tried to recruit some Iranian officials for the agency, in addition to passing on classified information about Iran’s Central Bank, Melli Bank and Defense Ministry contacts.

Masoud Mosaheb, a man in his early 70s, was serving as secretary-general of the Iran-Austria Friendship Association when he was arrested in January 2019, after which his family lost contact until finally learning he was being held at Evin Prison in Tehran. According to the Austrian ‘Der Standard’ newspaper, Mosaheb had traveled to the Islamic Republic together with a delegation from an Austrian research center that had opened a branch near Tehran.

Mosaheb was found to have provided the Mossad and German intelligence services with information on Iran’s “missile, nuclear, nanotechnology and medical fields,” the AFP news agency reported. He was convicted of spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence organization, and for Germany’s intelligence services, Esmaili said.

The Iranian judiciary spokesperson added that several more people were also recently arrested for alleged espionage in the foreign, defense and industry ministries, as well as in companies in the energy field, and in Iran’s atomic agency. No details were made available about the other defendants.