On 3 January, a US drone strike, authorized by President Donald Trump, killed Qasem Soleimani and Shia militia commander Abu Mahdi Muhandis who both were in a car at the Baghdad International Airport.
Iran’s judiciary spokesman has announced that a citizen of the Islamic Republic, who allegedly provided the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with information about the whereabouts of the late top Iranian general, will be executed.
“Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, one of the spies for CIA and [the Israeli intelligence service] Mossad has been sentenced to death. He gave the whereabouts of martyr [Qasem] Soleimani to our enemies”, Gholamhossein Esmaili told a televised news conference on Tuesday.
The statement comes after the magazine Newsweek quoted several unnamed sources as saying in late March that only a few people were in the know about the killing of Soleimani by a US MQ-9 Reaper drone in Iraq earlier this year.
According to the sources, Soleimani’s assassination was carried out in such secrecy that even the US military’s own spy satellites, the so-called “national technical means” (NTM), did not know about the drone’s position.
One of the sources claimed that there was “no GPS track on the MQ-9 Reaper as it made its way toward Baghdad International Airport, nor was there any indication of its flight provided to radar systems tasked with identifying friendly aircraft”.
On 3 January, Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, was killed at the Baghdad International Airport in a US drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump.
Soleimani’s assassination led to a major escalation of tensions between Tehran and Washington, with Iran officially responding by launching airstrikes against two Iraqi military bases housing US troops.
The strikes caused no deaths or serious injuries, but the Pentagon has since reported that at least 109 US servicemembers have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.
US-Iranian tensions have been in place since Trump announced Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also reinstating harsh economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic on 8 May 2018. Exactly a year later, Tehran declared that it had started suspending some of its JCPOA obligations.
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