Iranian jailed for 10 years for spying for UK

Cheryl Sanders
May 15, 2019

He did not specify whether she held British nationality.

The family of Aras Amiri found out through local media on Monday that the 32-year-old had been sentenced to 10 years in prison, accused of being a United Kingdom spy.

Esmaili said that during her confession, the suspect described how she had been recruited, telling investigators about her instructions from the "English security agency". She has been unable to leave the country ever since.

The spokesperson said she was "an Iranian student who wanted to live and work in the UK", was hired by the British Council and "repeatedly travelled to Iran under aliases. and made connections with artistic and theatre groups".

"She's a bargaining chip". She confessed to "co-operating" with British intelligence, he alleged. "Essentially they are asking for a ransom". Her sentence has been widely criticized.


Iran said on May 13 that it has sentenced an Iranian citizen who works for the British Council to 10 years in prison on charges of "spying".

The British Council said the news was deeply troubling.

"Our colleague's safety and wellbeing remain our first concern, as it has been throughout their detention", he said, according to the Independent.

On Monday, its chief executive, Sir Ciarán Devane, said: "We have seen reports that an Iranian national, claimed to be an employee of the British Council, has been sentenced". That is a vague charge often used by Iran's intelligence services against activists, journalists, and other Iranians arrested for political reasons.

According to the organisation's website, it is not "physically present" in Iran.


The British Council is the UK's global organisation working in arts and culture, English language, education and civil society.

Iranian authorities shut down the British Council's office in Tehran more than a decade ago for what Esmaili described as "illegal activities". The UK-registered charity said it has no offices or representatives in the country.

British council employee Aras Amiri, a 32-year-old Iranian national, was arrested in March last year in Iran. However we have not been able to confirm that this is our colleague. "British embassy officials in Tehran are in touch with the Iranian government to seek further information", it added.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter, Gabriella, in 2016.


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