Iranian courts have sentenced one person to death for spying for the United States and handed 10-year jail sentence to two others for the same crime, a judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday.
A fourth person was imprisoned for 10 years for spying for the United Kingdom, judiciary spokesman Gholam hossein Esmaili was quoted as saying by the judiciary’s news website Mizan.
“One person has been sentenced to death for spying for America … but the ruling has been appealed,” Esmaili said.
The other two men received final 10-year sentences for spying for the US, he added.
The verdicts come amid spiralling tensions between Tehran and Washington since US President Donald Trump last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Islamic Republic’s economy.
It was not immediately clear if any of the cases were linked to Iran’s announcement in July that it captured 17 spies working for the US spy agency, CIA.
Occasionally, Iran announces the detention of spies it says are working for foreign countries, including the US and Israel. In June, Iran said it executed a former staff member of the Ministry of Defense who was convicted of spying for the CIA.
In April, Iran said it uncovered 290 CIA spies both inside and outside the country over the past years.
Iran has handed down heavy sentences on spying charges in the past. In August, Iran jailed two people, including a British dual national, for more than a decade for spying for Israel and receiving illegal payments.
Nearly two years ago, Iran indicted three dual citizens and a foreigner held in the country on unknown charges.
One of those charged is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an Iranian-British woman, who has been jailed for more than two years had gone on a hunger strike in protest of her treatment.