This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
One person was sentenced to death and two more people were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for spying for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a spokesman for Iran’s judiciary said on February 4.
Iran’s Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence for Amir Rahimpour for spying and attempting to pass information about Iran’s nuclear program to the United States, Gholamhossein Esmaili said, adding that the sentence will be carried out soon.
“While being in touch with the spy agency, he earned a lot of money as wages as he tried to deliver some information from Iran’s nuclear program to the American agency,” state-run IRNA news agency quoted Esmaili as saying.
Rahimpour “had been identified and prosecuted and sentenced to death and recently, the country’s National Supreme Court confirmed the sentence and, God willing, he will be punished soon.”
Esmaili did not elaborate on what Rahimpour was accused of doing, and did not give his age or background.
The CIA did not immediately comment.
Two other people working for a charity have been sentenced to prison terms on charges of spying for the CIA and acting against Iran’s national security, Esmaili said, adding that they each received 15-year prison sentences — 10 years for spying and five years for acting against national security charges.
“Two…CIA spies who were working under the cover of an organization and charitable foundation have been identified, tried and sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying and five years in prison for acting against national security,” he said.
The names of the individuals would not be released yet because the sentence has not been finalized, Esmaili said.
Iran has sentenced alleged U.S. and Israeli spies to death before.
The last purported spy executed was Shahram Amiri, who defected to the United States at the height of Western efforts to thwart Iran’s nuclear program but returned in 2010, being initially welcomed by the government.
However, he was hanged in August 2016, one year after Iran agreed to a landmark agreement with world powers to limit uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 agreement and the reintroduction of harsh economic sanctions have heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.
A U.S. drone strike last month killed top military commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad, prompting Tehran to launch a retaliatory ballistic missile strike on Iraqi bases housing American troops.