File photo showing skyline of Tehran, Iran (1 April 2019)Image copyright

An Iranian national has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for spying for the UK, local media report.

The unnamed individual worked on the Iran desk of the British Council, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili was quoted as saying.

They confessed to co-operating with British intelligence, he alleged.

The identity of the individual was not clear. But a London-based British Council employee and art student, Aras Amiri, was held in Iran in March 2018.

Ms Amiri’s cousin said last May that she had been accused of “acting against national security” – a charge that has been laid by Iranian authorities against a range of activists, journalists and a number of dual citizens and foreign nationals detained in recent years.

The British Council said at the time that it was aware that one of its staff had been detained in Iran, without identifying them as Ms Amiri.

It said the person worked in the UK to “support and showcase the Iranian contemporary art scene”, and stressed they had been making a private family visit and not travelled for work.

The British Council has not commented on the latest reports from Iran.

There has also been no reaction yet from the UK government, which has been engaged in a protracted effort to free another woman, the dual British-Iranian national, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, from prison in Tehran. She was also accused of spying – a charge she has denied.

Read More