Iranian British Council employee gets 10 years for 'spying'

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Iranian British Council employee gets 10 years for 'spying'

Iran' judiciary says an Iranian national has been sentenced to 10 years on charges of spying for Britain.

The spokesman further said that the agent had confessed to the his/her cooperation with the British-based cultural council and had transferred good intelligence to the British security services and had been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Esmaili said that during her confession, the suspect described how she had been recruited and provided information on "the instructions that the English security agency had given" her.

The person had been cooperating with the British espionage service and was tasked with designing, managing and planning cultural infiltration projects in Iran, said Esmaili.

A friend of the sentenced woman identified her as Aras Amiri to the Reuters news agency, while British newspaper The Telegraph reported that one of Amiri's family members confirmed she was the person sentenced. She is serving a five-year sentence for spying - a charge she denied.

Iran does not recognise dual nationality. Funding from the UK's foreign office makes up about 15 percent of its overall income.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband revealed earlier this year that his wife had been asked to spy on the United Kingdom in exchange for her freedom, which she refused.

He said the woman had been in custody for nearly a year.

Mr Esmaili said such actions "drew the attention of Iran's security and intelligence services", which led to the woman's arrest past year.

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". Though the British Embassy in Tehran has reopened, the British Council has been closed since 2009.

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

"We are a non-political organization committed to people-to-people engagement, and our staff are not connected to any espionage agency", the organization said in a statement.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has been separated from his daughter, Gabriella, who was with her mother when she was detained in Iran and has since remained in the country with her grandparents.

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