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Iranian British Council worker sentenced to 10 years for 'spying': Judiciary

AFP  |  Tehran 

An Iranian woman who worked for the was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "spying", the judiciary's website Mizan Online reported Monday.

"An Iranian citizen in charge of the desk at the English cultural council called was cooperating with English spying agencies," it said quoting judiciary

He said the sentence was handed down recently and did not identify the suspect who "had made a straightforward confession and was sentenced to 10 years by the court".

Esmaili added that the suspect, who had been tasked with drawing up and managing cultural "infiltration" projects, had been arrested by and security agencies "more than a year ago".

The is a cultural and educational organisation overseas but according to its website it is not "physically present" in

Iranian authorities shut down the British Council more than a decade ago for what Esmaili described as "illegal activities".

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

A London-based employee was arrested in Iran in 2018 during a trip to visit relatives.

It was not immediately clear if she was the person sentenced on Monday.

The sentencing comes amid tensions between Iran and Britain over the fate of British-Iranian mother who was arrested by Iranian authorities in 2016 as she was leaving

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was put on trial and is now serving a five-year jail sentence for allegedly trying to topple the

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 13 2019. 16:26 IST