USA citizen sentenced to 10 years in Iran for spying

Xiyue Wang in an undated

The deputy judiciary chief, Mr Ejehi, also said on Sunday that a USA citizen accused of "infiltration" in Iran had been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The spokesman of Iran said "identified and arrested by the Intelligence Ministry's forces, and it was established that he was gathering information and was involved in spying activities." referring to Wang.

In the same announcement Sunday, Mohseni-Ejei said Hossein Fereydoun, the brother of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, has been sent to prison on Sunday over charges of "financial irregularities".

"The Iranian regime continues to detain U.S. citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national-security related changes", a press statement by the State Department said, reported CNN. Although there had been rumors of his arrest, news of his sentencing was the first time Iran officially confirmed the news.

Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his 81-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, are each serving 10-year sentences for "cooperating with the hostile American government".

Those convicted have 20 days to appeal a sentence.

The state department called for the immediate release of all U.S. citizens in jail in Iran.

Wang had been subjected to surveillance since he entered Iran under the guise of a researcher.

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It was not immediately clear whether Mohseni Ejei was referring to Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizen with permanent U.S. residency.

Wang "digitally archived" 4,500 pages of Iranian documents for foreign research institutions, according to Mizan Online.

"We continue to use all the means at our disposal to advocate for USA citizens who need our assistance overseas, especially for the release of any unjustly detained USA citizens held overseas", the State Department said.

The brothers do not share the same name because Rouhani changed his when he was younger to a word meaning "cleric".

Since Iran and the West reached a nuclear deal two years ago, restrictions on business dealings between the two countries have eased.

Hossein Ferydoun, a top presidential aide, was accused of money laundering and misappropriation of government funds.

Iran sentences a United States citizen to ten years in prison. Sunday's announcement was the first official confirmation of Wang's arrest since he disappeared past year.

Mr Ejehi could have been referring to Nizar Zakka, a USA permanent resident from Lebanon who advocates for internet freedom. "The court has sentenced the person to 10 years".

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