Amir Mirza Hekmati

January 9, 2012 by staff 

Amir Mirza HekmatiAmir Mirza Hekmati, Iran announced on Monday it had sentenced a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen to death for spying for the CIA, creating fresh grounds for hostility with Washington at a time when Tehran has responded to new U.S. sanctions with military threats.

The United States denies that Arizona-born Amir Mirza Hekmati is a spy, and has demanded his immediate release. Washington says Hekmati has been denied access to Swiss diplomats, who represent U.S. interests in a country where it has had no mission since its embassy was stormed in 1979.

Iran has accused Hekmati of training with the U.S. military as a spy. It aired a televised confession, denounced by Washington, in which he said he worked for a New York-based video game company designing games to manipulate public opinion in the Middle East on behalf of U.S. intelligence.

“Amir Mirza Hekmati was sentenced to death … for cooperating with the hostile country America and spying for the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency],” ISNA news agency quoted judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei as saying.

“The court found him Corrupt on the Earth and Mohareb [one who wages war on God]. Hekmati can appeal to the Supreme Court.”

The sentence comes at a time when tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program has reached a new high, rattling global oil markets. The West fears the work is a secret atomic weapons program, while Iran says it is purely peaceful.

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