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Iran orders death sentence for espionage

October 1, 2019

Courts in Iran have sentenced a person to death and jailed two others on charges of spying for the US. Ties between Tehran and Washington have deteriorated dramatically since the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

An Iranian flag on stage with a US flag
Image: Getty Images/AFP/C. Barria

An unnamed individual has been handed the death penalty in Iran for spying for the CIA, the judiciary said Tuesday.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said that the suspect has appealed the verdict and that a final decision would be delivered by the appeals court.

Esmaili added that the appeals tribunal had sentenced two Iranians — identified as Ali Nafarieh and Mohammad Ali Babapour — to 10 years in prison, also for being US spies.

A third suspect, Mohammad Aminnassab, was accused of spying for British intelligence and also given a 10-year jail sentence.

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It's not unusual for Iran's judiciary to hand out harsh punishments for espionage-related cases.

It's not clear if the latest verdicts are linked to Iran's announcement in July that it had detained 17 agents accused of working for the CIA.

The verdicts came after months of rising tensions between Iran, the US and other NATO members following US President Donald Trump's decision last year to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and impose sanctions on Tehran.

A series of confrontations involving tankers in the Persian Gulf and a recent attack on US ally Saudi Arabia's oil installations have further added to hostilities in the region.  

Iran tensions deter travelers

nm/rc (Reuters, AP)

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