Iran Sentences American To Death
January 9, 2012 by staff
Iran Sentences American To Death, An Iranian court on Monday convicted an American man of working for the CIA and sentenced him to death, state media reported. Iranian authorities allege that Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine, received special training at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before being dispatched on a spy mission in Iran. Mirzaei, 28, was born in Arizona but holds dual citizenship.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Iran is in ‘position of weakness’ in response to responding to a warning by their army chief about ships entering the Strait of Hormuz. (Jan. 3)
Mirzaei has 20 days to appeal the court’s decision, which comes at a time of increasing tensions between Tehran and Washington. The U.S. is pursuing tough sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, and a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and mysterious explosions at military and industrial sites have prompted Iran to keep closer tabs on dual nationals visiting the country.
Precisely when and where Mirzaei was arrested is unclear. Iranian news reports have said he was detained in late August or early September, according to the Associated Press. Mirzaei’s family members, who live in Michigan, have reportedly said he was in Iran to visit his grandmother.
Mirzaei appeared on Iranian state television in December and purportedly confessed to working for the CIA. It is unclear whether the statements were made under duress.
Iranian media have reported that Mirzaei was spotted by Iranian intelligence operatives while visiting Bagram Airfield near Kabul.
During Mirzaei’s trial, the state prosecutor demanded “the most severe punishment” in retaliation for increased spy activities by the U.S., the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Mirzaei, who is considered an Iranian because the country does not recognize dual citizenship, was convicted of working with a hostile country, belonging to the CIA and trying to accuse Iran of involvement in t*rror*sm, Fars reported.
He was described by the court as a “mohareb,” an Islamic legal term meaning he “waged war against god,” and a “Mofsed,” or someone who “spreads corruption on the earth,” the AP reported.
The judge, Abolghassem Salavati, has presided over mass trials against activists before, sentencing at least three people to death after having given them similar labels.
The U.S. government has demanded that Mirzaei be released and called on Iranian authorities to grant Swiss diplomats access to him in prison, AP reported. The Swiss government represents U.S. interests in Iran because the two countries don’t have diplomatic relations.
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