Iran: long prison sentences for double national and British workers | News from the world

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A British Council employee and a double British-Iranian citizen were sentenced to long prison terms for security and espionage reasons by Iran.

Aras Amiri, a worker from the Iranian National and British Council who lived in London, was arrested in 2018 during a trip to Iran to visit relatives. A spokesman for the judiciary said on Tuesday that an appeal court upheld a 10-year sentence against her.

The spokesman identified a second woman convicted as Anousheh Ashouri, a double British-Iranian citizen. She was sentenced to 12 years for ties to the Israeli Mossad espionage agency.

The spokesman said that a man, Ali Johari, was also sentenced to 12 years. Reportedly, Johari has sent information on construction projects by a construction conglomerate affiliated to the revolutionary guards, Khatam al-Anbia.

The verdict came amid tensions between Iran and US ally Great Britain for the seizure of oil tankers in recent weeks.

An Iranian tanker was seized outside the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on 4 July on charges of shipping oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

That ship was released but Iran continues to hold a British-flagged tanker seized in the Gulf on 19 July for breaking the "international maritime rules".

Tensions had already been strained between the two countries over the fate of the British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested by Iranian authorities in 2016 while leaving Tehran.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was tried and is serving a five-year prison sentence for allegedly attempting to overthrow the Iranian government.

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