British-Iranian jailed for six years for spying in Iran

Iranian prosecutors fail to name prisoner or disclose details of case

Iranian Embassy in London 
(Image credit: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

An unidentified British-Iranian dual citizen has been jailed for six years on spying charges, the official news agency of Iran’s judiciary reported on Sunday.

According to Mizan agency, Tehran-based prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said that “an agent of England’s intelligence service” had received the sentence, and that the prisoner was also under investigation in a separate case related to a private bank.

No further information was reported about when and where the person was arrested and convicted.

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This person has not been identified and “there is no known case of a British-Iranian national being jailed for six years”, says Sky News.

The Independent reports that the UK Foreign Office was “not immediately aware of the case”.

A spokesperson said: “We are currently investigating the reported sentencing of a British-Iranian dual national with the Iranian authorities.”

Because Iran does not recognise dual citizenship, foreign embassies often have limited access to dual nationals held in the country.

Since 2015, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have arrested at least 30 dual citizens, “mostly on spying charges”, Reuters reported in November.

At least two British-Iranian citizens are known to be held in Iran. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian aid worker, was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of seeking to overthrow the Iranian government in 2016.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 39, was classified as eligible for early release in December 2017 after spending more than 18 months in an Iranian prison, but she remains in Iranian custody.

Kamal Foroughi, a 78-year-old British-Iranian businessman, was arrested in 2011 and convicted of espionage and possessing alcohol, which is banned in Iran.

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