Two US-Saudi ‘spies’ sentenced in Iran

Two spies with alleged ties to US and Saudi intelligence services have been sentenced in Iran.

The Iranian judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, told reporters of the sentencing during a press conference, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

Esmaili declined to provide further information about the names of the defendants or their sentences.

The imprisonment of the alleged US and Saudi spies comes at a time of strained relationships between Tehran and Washington.

US President Donald Trump has flirted with the idea of military conflict with Iran, accusing Tehran of attacking US interests through its proxy militias in Yemen and Iraq. Earlier this month, the USS Abraham Lincoln strike force was deployed to the Arabian Gulf as a deterent.

READ: The US will proudly go to war with Iran for Saudi oil

Last week, an Iranian woman was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for allegedly spying for British intelligence services.

“An Iranian who was in charge of [the] Iran desk in the British Council and was cooperating with Britain’s intelligence agency… was sentenced to ten years in prison after clear confessions,” Esmaili was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

Earlier this year, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif offered a prisoner swap between British-Iranian dual citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and Iranians awaiting extradition to the United States. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to three to five years imprisonment for allegedly plotting the overthrow of the Iranian establishment.

Spying is a serious crime in Iran with a maximum penalty of death.  Those sentenced could also receive hefty custodial sentences with or without additional lashes.

READ: Trump, Saudi Arabia warn Iran against Middle East conflict