Iranian nuclear negotiator sent to five years in prison

Iran's judiciary confirms a member of its nuclear negotiating team was imprisoned on spying charges.

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Ben Ariel,

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Iran's judiciary confirmed on Sunday that a Canadian-Iranian member of its nuclear negotiating team had been handed a five-year prison sentence on spying charges.

"Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani... was among some who were accused of spying and providing information for foreigners and had links with two espionage services," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie told reporters, according to the AFP news agency.

Some reports have also said Dorri Esfahani has British citizenship.

"The court sentenced him to five years in prison and the verdict is final," Ejeie stressed, adding, "He also has a financial corruption case for which a bail has been issued but no indictment has been issued yet."

Dorri Esfahani, who was arrested in August of 2016, has a background in the banking sector and was a member of the supervisory board overseeing implementation of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015.

Since mid-2016, conservative websites and members of parliament have repeatedly accused Dorri Esfahani of spying for Britain, noted AFP.

This was flatly denied by Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi in October 2016, but the case remained open.

The conservative-dominated judiciary has jailed a number of dual nationals and foreigners since the nuclear deal came into force, highlighting the ongoing concern within parts of the establishment over improving ties with the West.

Weeks before Dorri Esfahani's arrest, Iran announced it had executed a nuclear scientist convicted of handing over "confidential and vital" information to the United States.

The Islamic Republic, which is notorious for its executions, has in the past executed individuals it claimed to be “spies” for both Israel and the U.S.

In June of 2012, Iran claimed to have dismantled a terrorist and sabotage network in the southern city of Shiraz, which allegedly planned bombings and assassination attempts during Iran’s presidential election.

The network had links with the CIA, Israel and some neighboring Arab nations, Iran claimed.

In a previous incident, Iran executed Majid Jamali Fashi after convicting him of spying for the Mossad and of playing a key role in the January 2010 assassination of a top nuclear scientist in return for payment of $120,000.