World

Report: Iranian nuclear negotiator gets 5-year sentence

TEHRAN — A member of Iran’s team of nuclear negotiators that struck the 2015 deal with world powers has been sentenced to five years in
prison on espionage charges, a semi-official news agency reported on Wednesday.

While unnamed in the report, the only negotiator known to be facing criminal charges is dual Iranian-Canadian national Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani.

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His detention, if confirmed, would make him the latest dual national to be arrested in Iran, part of what a United Nations panel of experts has called an ‘‘emerging pattern’’ since the atomic accord.

The sentencing was only reported by Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, which is believed to be close to Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, a hard-line force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guard has been involved in nearly every case involving dual nationals or those with Western ties being detained.

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‘‘The conviction of a member of the nuclear negotiation team who has been arrested before and released on bail has been confirmed in the Tehran provincial appeals court,’’ the short report read. ‘‘This person has been sentenced to five years in prison.’’

In August 2016, hard-line news outlets said authorities detained Esfahani, who reportedly worked as a member of a parallel team focusing on lifting economic sanctions against Iran as part of the nuclear deal. He was later granted bail, which is rare in Iran for those accused of having committed a serious crime.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Esfahani reportedly served as a member of the Iranian team working at The Hague on disputes between Iran and the United States over prerevolution purchases of military equipment from the United States by Iran.

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He is a member of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants in Canada. He also has served as an adviser to the head of Iran’s Central Bank.

Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, meaning that those it detains cannot receive consular assistance. In most cases, dual nationals have faced secret charges in closed-door hearings before Iran’s Revolutionary Court.

associated press

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