Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Limited 12-hour humanitarian truce takes effect in Gaza

    Read more

  • Video: No investigation apparent at MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Paris march for Gaza to go ahead Saturday despite police ban

    Read more

  • Kerry due in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Iran sentences 'CIA agent' to death

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-09

An Iranian judge condemned US-Iranian Amir Mirzai Hekmati to death for being a CIA spy, a report said Monday. Hekmati was shown on Iranian state TV saying he was a CIA operative sent to infiltrate Iran's intelligence ministry.

AFP - A judge has sentenced a US-Iranian man to death for spying for the CIA, a report said Monday, exacerbating Tehran-Washington tensions already high because of Western sanctions on the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.

Amir Mirzai Hekmati, a 28-year-old former Marine born in the United States, was "sentenced to death for cooperating with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and trying to implicate Iran in terrorism," the Fars news agency said, quoting a verdict by the Revolutionary Court judge in Tehran.

Hekmati, born to an Iranian immigrant family living in the US, was shown on state television in mid-December saying in fluent Farsi and English that he was a Central Intelligence Agency operative sent to infiltrate Iran's intelligence ministry.

He had been arrested months earlier.

Iranian officials said his cover was blown by agents for Iran who spotted him at the US-run Bagram military air base in neighbouring Afghanistan.

But Hekmati's family in the United States told US media he had travelled to Iran to visit his Iranian grandmothers and insisted he was not a spy.

In his sole trial hearing, on December 27, prosecutors relied on Hekmati's "confession" to say he tried to penetrate the intelligence ministry by posing as a disaffected former US soldier with classified information to give.

The United States has demanded Hekmati's release.

The US State Department said Iran did not permit diplomats from the Swiss embassy -- which handles Washington's interests in the absence of US-Iran ties -- to see Hekmati before or during his trial.

Hekmati's death sentence adds to a series of grave points of contention between Iran and the United States stemming from an escalating showdown over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Last month, Iran showed off what it said was a CIA drone it captured using cyberwarfare.

It also said Sunday it had arrested an unspecified number of "spies" who allegedly sought to carry out US plans to disrupt parliamentary elections in March.

The suspects were not identified by name or nationality and, as with numerous previous similar announcements, the accusation was not publicly substantiated.

Washington, for its part, said in October it thwarted a plot allegedly hatched in Tehran to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US. President Barack Obama last month also signed into law new sanctions targeting Iran's central bank.

The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapon capability.

Iran, though, insists its programme is exclusively for peaceful ends.

It has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf -- a chokepoint for 20 percent of the world's oil -- if it is threatened militarily or by sanctions.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta warned on Sunday that such a move would cross a "red line" and "we would take action and reopen the strait."

He told CBS television that while the United States does not believe Iran is actively developing an atomic bomb, it was "trying to develop a nuclear capability."

"That's what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is do not develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us," he said.

Date created : 2012-01-09

  • IRAN - US

    US vows to act if Iran blocks Strait of Hormuz

    Read more

  • Iran

    Iran successfully test-fires three missiles in Gulf

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    UK to urge tougher EU sanctions for Iran

    Read more

COMMENT(S)