IRAN has executed four men it says were linked to an Israeli bomb plot on a weapons factory.
The men were allegedly planning to target a a factory belonging to Iran’s defence ministry and involved in missile and defence equipment in the central city of Isfahan, reported IRNA news agency.
It was also claimed the operation, engineered by Israel’s Mossad Agency, was meant to take place in 2022.
The four men were allegedly trained by the Israeli intelligence agency in an African country before entering Iran from Iraq‘s Kurdistan region.
The plot was allegedly averted by Iranian intelligence, reports said.
The death sentences were carried out on Monday after the Supreme Court rejected appeals, according to Iranian state media.
“The death sentence of four members of a group affiliated with the Zionist spy organisation … was carried out this morning,” the Iranian judiciary’s website Mizan Online reported.
The four were identified as Iranian nationals: Mohammad Faramarzi, Mohsen Mazloum, Vafa Azarbar and Pejman Fatehi.
The report did not say how the death sentences were carried out, but in Iran it’s usually by hanging.
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Iran executes more people per year than any other country except China, according to Amnesty.
Iran and Israel have had a long history of hostility.
They’re presently at odds over Iran’s nuclear project. Israel accuses Iran of supporting armed organisations it is battling, including Hamas and Hezbollah.
Iran claims Israel has killed a number of Iranian leaders and scientists, allegations that Tel Aviv neither admits nor rejects.
On Saturday, three American troops were killed on Saturday by “radical Iran-backed militant groups” at a small US outpost in northeast Jordan near the border with Syria.
It was the first time US soldiers were killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the beginning of the Gaza war.
US Central Command confirmed that three service members had been killed.
According to a US official the number of troops injured by the one-way drone attack – which appeared to have come from Syria – was at least 34.
Eight of those injured were evacuated – some in stable but critical conditions, reports CBS.
President Joe Biden has since vowed to respond.
He said on Sunday: “Last night, three US service members were killed – and many wounded – during an unmanned aerial drone attack on our forces stationed in northeast Jordan near the Syria border.
“While we are still gathering the facts of this attack, we know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq.”
The president said that the three American service members killed were “patriots in the highest sense” as he vowed to hold those responsible for their deaths to account.
He added: “We will carry on their commitment to fight terrorism.
“And have no doubt – we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing.”
The UK also condemned the attack, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying: “We are concerned and would urge Iran to continue to de-escalate tensions in the region.
“We absolutely condemn what has happened over the past couple of days.
“My thoughts are with all of those impacted, those who lost their lives, their families and those that are injured.
“We stand resolutely with our allies to bring stability and peace to the region.
“And that’s what we’ll continue to work towards.”
Former US president Donald Trump, 77, warned “we are on the brink of World War Three” after the “brazen attack”.