“Last week, a person accused of espionage for an American [intelligence] service was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said during a Tuesday press conference, reported the AFP.
While it was revealed that the individual sentenced to execution was spying for Washington, their name has not been released because the court’s verdict remains eligible for appeal.
Tehran did release the names of Ali Nafariyeh and Mohammad-Ali Babapour, both sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $55,000, which is the alleged amount they received from Washington for their intelligence efforts. Mohammad Amin-Nassab was also sentenced to 10 years in prison after the court found him guilty of spying on behalf of the UK. It’s unclear whether he was fined.
The judiciary official did not reveal if these recent sentences stemmed from the June bust of what Tehran called a CIA-run "large US cyber-espionage" network - a claim US President Donald Trump previously shot down as “totally false” on Twitter.
Iranian authorities did, however, explain that the arrests occurred between March 2018 and March 2019, which would align with the arrest of the 17 individuals suspected of spying.
Furthermore, Iran’s judiciary announced in July that it would be pursuing the death penalty against members of the alleged CIA intelligence ring, and Esmaili noted that two non-military members had already “received long prison terms” for their involvement.
Tehran’s Tuesday press conference comes just weeks after two British-Australian women and an Australian man were detained and arrested by Iranian authorities.
“There is a risk that foreigners, including Australians, could be arbitrarily detained or arrested in Iran. We can’t guarantee consular access if you are detained or arrested. We also can’t guarantee access to legal representation,” the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in the “Smart Traveller” section of its website since the trio’s detention.