TEHRAN // Iran yesterday hanged a man found guilty of providing military secrets and information to Israel's intelligence agency Mossad.
Ali Akbar Siyadat was executed at Tehran's Evin prison, the state news agency Irna reported. His name had been withheld by the state until the execution.
He was sentenced to death for "working to strengthen the Zionist regime" and acting against the security of the Islamic republic since 2004, according to a statement released on the website of the Tehran Public and Revolutionary Court.
Siyadat had confessed to receiving money and communication devices from Israeli agents and to providing military secrets and information including details about the Revolutionary Guard's missiles, the country's fighter planes and military bases, wargames and causes of air crashes to Israeli agents, the statement said.
He was arrested with 29 pages of classified documents while trying to flee the country with his wife in 2008, the statement added.
In November 2008 Iran executed another man named Ali Ashtari on charges of spying for Israel.
Iran maintains that Israel regularly conducts espionage operations against its military and nuclear programmes. It has also accused Israel, along with the US and Britain, of assassinating of two of its nuclear scientists in the past year.
Another prisoner, Ali Saremi, was hanged at Evin prison yesterday after he was found guilty of being a member of the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq, the largest and most militant Iranian opposition group. Saremi was also found guilty of propaganda against the Islamic regime, the judiciary statement said.
Also yesterday, Iran confirmed that the families of two German journalists held in a prison in the north-western city of Tabriz since October had been able to visit them for the first time on Monday.
"Considering the humanitarian approach of our country's officials, the opportunity was provided for the families to leave Tehran for Tabriz last night … The German nationals were with their families last night," the foreign ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said at a press conference.
Germany's ambassador to Tehran was present at the reunion, held at an unspecified location, according to a report by Irna.
The German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, thanked his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, the foreign ministry caretaker, for quickly arranging the meeting.
"The two German citizens have met with their loved ones in Tabriz," Mr Westerwelle said, expressing his gratitude to Tehran, according to a ministry spokeswoman. Germany was still pressing for the pair's release, he said.
Neither Iranian nor German authorities have so far identified the two journalists. But on Monday, Iran's state Press TV showed a passport belonging to a Marcus Alfred Rudolf Hellwig and identified the second journalist as Jens Andreas Koch.
The reporter and photographer for the mass-circulation German tabloid Bild am Sonntag were arrested in Tabriz on October 10 for attempting to interview the family and the lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to stoning for adultery and death for complicity in the murder of her husband.
Authorities said the two journalists were arrested because they had not applied for press credentials from Iranian authorities and had entered the country on tourist visas.
Earlier this month, Mr Mehmanparast said the two German journalists could temporarily be released from prison to spend the Christmas holiday with their families. They hoped to be reunited in Tehran on Saturday but the prisoners were not transferred to the capital, Isna, a semi-official news agency affiliated with the ministry of higher education, quoted unnamed sources as saying. Iran's English-language Press TV, however, said on Monday that the reunion did not take place as the family members refused to travel to Tabriz for the visit.
Germany's foreign ministry spokesman Stefan Bredohl said on Monday that his ministry had summoned Iran's ambassador to Germany, Alireza Sheikh Attar, over the refusal of Iranian authorities to allow the visit but Iran's embassy in Berlin denied that Mr Sheikh Attar had been summoned and said the ambassador's visit to the German foreign ministry had been pre-scheduled.
Iranian officials say the two German journalists have confessed to breaking the Iranian laws.
On December 5 the prosecutor general, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, said the two German nationals were under investigation for illegal reporting but denied that they faced espionage charges.
Mr Mehmanparast said on Tuesday that the two German nationals would be released if they were found innocent.
* With additional reporting by Reuters and Associated Press