Iran has sentenced eight environmental activists, including an Iranian who reportedly also has British and American citizenship, to prison sentences ranging from four to 10 years on charges of spying for the United States and acting against Iran's national security, the judiciary said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said that an appeals court issued the final verdicts.
Two of the activists, Morad Tahbaz and Niloufar Bayani, each received 10 years and were ordered to return the money they allegedly received from the US government for their services.
Tahbaz is an Iranian who also holds US and British citizenship, noted AP.
Iran does not recognize dual or multiple nationalities, meaning Iranians it detains cannot receive consular assistance from their other countries. In most cases, dual nationals have faced secret charges in closed-door hearings before Iran's Revolutionary Court.
Iran regularly says it captured spies, and sometimes those are sentenced to death.
Earlier this month, Iran’s supreme court confirmed the death penalty for Amir Rahimpour, who was convicted of spying for the CIA. Iranian state media have alleged that he had shared details of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program with the American spy agency.
In August of 2019, Iran jailed two people, including a British dual national, for 10 years for spying for Israel.
In June of that year, a former Iranian Department of Defense contractor was executed by Iran for spying for the US government.
In 2016, the Islamic Republic arrested a member of the negotiating team that reached a nuclear deal with world powers on suspicion of spying.
Iran is still holding several foreign and dual nationals, including five US-Iranian nationals. Among those is former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing in Iran since 2007, when he vanished while on an unauthorized CIA mission.
In the past, Iran insisted that Levinson is not in the country and that it has no further information about him. In November, however, Iran acknowledged for the first time it has an open case before its Revolutionary Court regarding Levinson.