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Iran jails British national for spying for Israel

A number of dual nationals are detained in Iran [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 27 August, 2019

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Anousheh Ashouri, a woman with British and Iranian citizenship, got 10 years in prison for feeding information to Israel's Mossad spy agency, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said.

Two people including a British dual national were jailed in Iran for 10 years for spying for Israel and another two years for receiving illegal payments, the judiciary said on Tuesday.

Anousheh Ashouri, a woman with British and Iranian citizenship, got 10 years in prison for feeding information to Israel's Mossad spy agency, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said.

She was also handed a two-year prison sentence for receiving 33,000 euros ($36,600) in illicit funds from Israel and ordered to pay the same amount in fines.

Ali Johari, an Iranian national, got 10 years for various espionage offences, including "widespread connections with Mossad... and meeting with various elements linked to the Zionists," Esmaili said, quoted by the judiciary's website.

Johari had been in contact with operatives in India, Laos and Sri Lanka, among other countries, and also travelled to "occupied lands", the judiciary added.

He had been in the process of "getting citizenship from this country", said Esmaili, in apparent reference to Israel.

Johari also received two years for accepting illicit funds and was ordered to pay that unspecified amount in fines, said Esmaili.

Ashouri is the latest Iranian national with a Western passport to be detained in Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian project manager with Thomson Reuters Foundation, has been held in Tehran since 2016 on sedition charges, a case that has caused major tensions with the United Kingdom.

Other Iranian dual nationals jailed in Iran include Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer, who are serving 10-year sentences for espionage in a case that has outraged Washington.

Last month Iran confirmed the arrest of French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, 60, without giving any details on the case. 

British Council

On Tuesday, an Iranian appeals court upheld a 10-year jail sentence against British Council staffer Aras Amiri for "cultural infiltration", according to the the judiciary spokesman.

Amiri, an Iranian national who had been living in London, was arrested in 2018 during a trip to visit relatives in Iran.

“This person... was identified by us because of her cultural infiltration in society through arts and her widespread activities," spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said, quoted by the judiciary's Mizan Online website.

Amiri "made a straightforward confession” at her original sentence on 13 May, the platform reported, noting she had been tasked with drawing up and managing cultural "infiltration" projects.

The British Council's office in Tehran was closed by Iranian authorities more than a decade ago for what Mr Esmaili described as "illegal activities".

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