TEHRAN — Iran’s judiciary sentenced two people to 10 years in prison on Sunday for spying for the United States and Israel, but their names were not released, local media reported.
It was not clear if the Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaian, who faces similar charges, was one of them.
It is not uncommon in Iran to hand down sentences without revealing names of the convicted, especially in matters involving national security. Judiciary spokesman Gholami Hossein Mohseni Ejei told reporters that a revolutionary court, which is also handling Mr. Rezaian’s case, had sentenced the two “due to their espionage for the United States and Israel,” he said according to the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.
Iran in the past has organized court cases for those charged with spying, in one instance even executing one before the announcement of his trial, in 2010. That man, Ali-Akbar Siadat, was hanged at Evin Prison in Tehran after he had been found guilty of passing information about the country’s military capability to Israel, including on Iran’s missile program.
Relatives of Mr. Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who has been held in Iran since July 2014, are waiting for a verdict to be issued, after court proceedings against Mr. Rezaian ended earlier this month.
Mr. Mohseni Ejei said that he did not know whether a verdict in his case had been reached. “But the final session took place two weeks ago,” he said.
Mr. Rezaian is charged with spying and assisting the “hostile” American government, Iran’s judiciary has said. Despite four sessions in a closed court, no further details of the case or the allegations have been publicized.
According to Iranian law, a verdict needs to be issued one week after the final court session. Mr. Rezaian’s last session was held on August 10. Instead of issuing a verdict, Iran’s judiciary issued a statement saying that it was up to the judge, Abdelqassem Salavati, to decide whether the August 10 session was the final one.
State TV quoted Mr. Rezaian’s lawyer, Leila Ahsan, as saying that a verdict had been issued but not announced, but in a phone interview she denied that she had said such a thing.
“I said I suppose a verdict has been issued by now, but I have no further information,” Ms. Ahsan said.
In a news conference this month, Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, highlighted the fate of what she said were 19 Iranian citizens in American prisons. Analysts said this could be a hint for a potential prisoner swap, but another Iranian official ruled out such a plan.
“An exchange of Jason Rezaian is not on the agenda. Each of the issues has their own separate case,” Hassan Qashqavi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister in charge of legal and consular affairs, was quoted as saying in Iranian semiofficial news agencies Tasnim and Fars.
In October, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, announced the arrest of multiple spies in Bushehr Province, home to Iran’s first nuclear plant. It is unclear whether the two convictions are related to this case.
“Some [spying] services like Mossad, the MI6 and the C.I.A. and the countries which are enemies of Iran are naturally in pursuit of negative objectives in the Islamic Republic or sometimes they act directly and leave negative effects in political, economic and social fields,” Mr. Alavi had said, referring to the spy agencies of Israel, Britain and the United States.
“Our nuclear, defense and missile industries and advanced technologies are the arenas in which they seek to gain intelligence and carry out sabotage operations,” he added.
Iranian officials often accuse separatists along its borders of working for western intelligence agencies. In 2010, mysterious explosions took out several gas pipeline hubs across the country. In 2011, the top commander of Iran’s missile program was killed in a huge blast that many say was also caused by sabotage.
Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, the lawyer for Amir Hekmati, the Iranian-American former Marine, who was convicted of spying for the C.I.A. in 2012 by an Iranian court, said he had no idea who the two convicted spies were or what they have done.
“I am trying to get a pardon for my client,” Mr. Tabatabaei said of Mr. Hekmati. “They now agree he is not a spy,” he said of the courts that are still studying his case. “But they still accuse him of cooperating with the United States as an Iranian, in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.”
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(via NY Times)