Iran jails British national for 10 years on spying charges

  27 August 2019    Read: 1495
Iran jails British national for 10 years on spying charges

Iran's hardline national security establishment continued its drive to target dual nationals, sentencing a UK national of Iranian origin to 12 years in prison on espionage allegations and punishing two others, including a UK resident, on similar charges.

Anusheh Ashuri, a British-Iranian dual national was accused of passing on intelligence to Israel’s spy agency, according to spokesman of Iran’s judiciary, which is dominated by hardline clerics and jurists.

"Anusheh Ashuri had been connected to the Mossad and had relayed a lot of intelligence to that country," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaeili told reporters during a weekly briefing, according to the Tasnim news agency. "She has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying and two years for illicitly acquiring money."

The Foreign Commonwealth Office said that it has been following Ms Ashuri's case since her arrest in Tehran two years ago. Iran does not recognise dual nationality has declined to give Ms Ashuri consular access or updates on her case.

“We have been supporting the family of a British-Iranian dual national since [her] detention and our Embassy in Tehran continues to request consular access," said an FCO spokesperson.

Mr Esmaeili also confirmed the conviction last week of Aras Amiri, an Iranian employee of the British Council and student of philosophy at London’s Kingston University, on allegations of spying for the UK, and announced the conviction of Ali Johari, also on charges of spying for Israel.

Ms Amiri, who rejected the charges in a letter to the judiciary chief, has been sentenced to jail for 10 years.

Iran has targeted numerous dual nationals, including British Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and French scholar Fariba Adelkah. Like Ms Amiri, they are often grabbed by shadowy elements within the security forces during visits home from the West. The FCO spokesperson urged Iran to release the UK nationals. "The treatment of all dual nationals detained in Iran is a priority and we raise their cases at the most senior levels," said a statement by the spokesperson.

Mr Esmeili said Mr Johari, also sentenced to a decade in prison, had been spying for Israel for years and had met with alleged Mossad operatives in Asia, handing over intelligence about the Revolutionary Guard’s Khatam al-Anbia construction and development arm.

Iran said in July that it had captured 17 spies working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and some had been sentenced to death. It was unclear whether Tuesday's announcement was linked to the same case.


The Independent

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