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Iran sentences man to death on charges of spying for the CIA

SCOTT EELLS/BLOOMBERG

By SARAH DADOUCH | The Washington Post | Published: October 1, 2019

BEIRUT — Iran has sentenced one person to death and three others to 10 years in prison on accusations of spying for the U.S. and Britain, the state-run judicial news agency reported Monday.

The person sentenced to death was not named, but he was described as someone who spied for the CIA and “whose range of espionage activities has been vast.” The sentence was automatically appealed to Iran’s Supreme Court, the Mizan News Agency reported.

Two other men, Ali Nafariyeh and Mohammed Ali Babapour, also were charged with spying for the CIA. Each received 10 years in prison and a fine of $55,000, which the judicial spokesman said was the amount paid to them by the American intelligence agency.

Mohammed Amin Nasab, charged with spying for the British government, was also given a 10-year sentence.

The spokesman said the individuals all were arrested last year, the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency said.

At the same news conference, it was announced that President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, Hossein Fereydoun, has been sentenced to five years in prison and might face additional charges in another case, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The initial sentence was seven years, but it was reduced by two years on appeal.

Fereydoun was convicted in May of corruption charges. The recent charges were “money-laundering related,” IRNA reported without elaboration.

In July, Iran said its intelligence forces had identified and arrested 17 Iranians suspected of spying for the CIA and that some of them were sentenced to death. President Donald Trump denied Iran’s claim that it had dismantled an elaborate U.S. espionage ring.

It was not immediately clear whether the four whose sentences were announced Tuesday are among the 17.

Tensions have been high recently between Washington and Tehran. Iran released a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz last week after holding it for two months amid a standoff over security in the Persian Gulf region.

The U.S. also blamed Iran for attacks on commercial tankers in the area, as well as a complex assault on Saudi oil facilities last month. Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil giant Aramco said drone and missile strikes on Sept. 14 forced a temporary shutdown of half the kingdom’s oil production. Iran has denied involvement in any of the attacks.

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