TEHRAN, Jan. 9 (UPI) —
Iranian claims a man the Revolutionary Court sentenced to death Monday worked on behalf of the CIA are untrue, a White House spokesman said.
Press secretary Jay Carney said the U.S. State Department was working through the Swiss diplomatic corps in Tehran to confirm the veracity of the reports that the court imposed the death sentence on Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, who Iranian officials said was a spy working for the United States.
Iran’s government-supported media outlets said Hekmati was hired by the Central Intelligence Agency in May 2009 to carry out espionage operations in Iran. On Dec. 17, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry reported his arrest and called him a CIA spy of Iranian descent.
If the reports are true, we strongly condemn such a verdict and will work with our partners to convey our condemnation to the Iranian government, Carney said. Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false.
Carney reminded reporters, The Iranian regime has a history, as you know, of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.
In a televised confession, Hekmati said he joined the U.S. Army in 2001 and had undergone intelligence training, Press TV said. The man said he was sent to Bagram Airbase in eastern Afghanistan and had access in intelligence matters before arriving in Tehran.
A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary told the government-backed Iranian Students News Agency, The verdict of Hekmati was delivered to his lawyer and they can go to appeal.
In a related matter, Intelligence Minister Hojjatoleslam Heydar Moslehi announced the arrests of several spies he said wanted to disrupt parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2, the government-sponsored Islamic Republic News Agency said.
Our intelligence apparatus had complete information about the activities of the arrested spies, he said.
Moslehi said the detainees were trying to carry out a plan by the CIA through social networks and cyberspace to disrupt the process of the elections.