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Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

January 9, 2012 by staff 

Amir Mirzaei HekmatiAmir Mirzaei Hekmati, A former U.S. Marine from Arizona was sentenced to death by an Iranian court for being a CIA spy, the Islamic Republic’s state-run media reported Monday.

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati was convicted of working with a hostile country, belonging to the Central Intelligence Agency and trying to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorist activities, Iranian media reported.

The 28-year-old Iranian-American – who served as a Arabic translater in the military – is believed to have been arrested in December, and Iran accused him of receiving training at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is unclear when Hekmati was convicted, but according to Iranian Law he has just 20 days to appeal, The Associated Press said.

“I was deceived by the CIA,” he said in a supposed confession, according to the state-run Fars News Agency. “Although I was appointed to break into Iran’s intelligence systems and act as a new source for the CIA, I had no intention of undermining the country.”

Hekmati’s father, who teaches at a community college in Flint, Michigan, insists his son is not a CIA agent and was only in Iran to visit his grandmothers.

“We have struggled to provide Amir with an attorney in Iran. We have sought to hire at least 10 different attorneys to no avail,” Hekmati’s family said in a statement earlier this month in response to his arrest. It said Hekmati’s “only advocate in Iran was a government-appointed lawyer who he met on the first day of his trial.”

U.S. officials have demanded Hekmati’s release and stated he was “falsely” accused. They have also demanded that Swiss officials – who act on behalf of the U.S. in Iran – be allowed to visit Hekmati.

Iranian media also claimed on Monday to have arrested several spies who they say sought to carry out plans by the U.S. to disrupt the upcoming election.

Three U.S. hikers – one woman and two men – were arrested in Iran in 2009 and accused of being spies. Sarah Shourd was later released in 2010. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were released last year after paying $1 million bail.

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