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Iran executes IT expert who spied for Israel

Iran executes IT expert who spied for Israel
Iran executes IT expert who spied for Israel

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By Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv 
The Sunday Times
November 30, 2008

A COMPUTER expert has been executed in Iran after he confessed to 
working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. This provides a 
rare insight into the intense espionage activity inside the Islamic 

Ali Ashtari, 43, a computer and hi-tech equipment buyer for Iran=E2=80=99s 
defence industry and nuclear programme, was hanged after admitting he 
worked for Israel. It is the first known conviction of an alleged 
Israeli agent in Iran for almost 10 years.

Ashtari was trusted by senior officials to travel overseas to buy the 
advanced computers and other electronic equipment needed for the 
regime=E2=80=99s nuclear programme, which is reported to have already produced 
enough enriched uranium to make an atomic bomb.

Behind their backs he allowed the software he bought to be subtly 
doctored by Israeli computer engineers before it was imported to Iran. 
Ashtari confessed: =E2=80=9CMossad=E2=80=99s goal was to sell specialised computer 
equipment through me to Iranian intelligence organisations.=E2=80=9D

According to surveillance experts, this allowed Israel to monitor 
computer systems bought by Ashtari, and insert bugs that could slow down 
Tehran=E2=80=99s weapons development or even sabotage it altogether.

Ashtari revealed how he communicated with his Israeli controllers: =E2=80=9CI 
received a laptop with encrypted software for fast e-mail 
communication,=E2=80=9D he said. =E2=80=9CThey asked me to install bugging devices in 
the communications equipment I provided to my clients.=E2=80=9D


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