Amir Mirzai Hekmati

Amir Mirzai Hekmati, the American citizen detained in Iran on the charge of spying for the U.S., has been sentenced to death by an Iranian court.

The Fars news agency reported on Monday that the former U.S. Marine of Iranian descent, Amir Mirzai Hekmati, was convicted of “collaborating with a hostile country, belonging to the CIA and trying to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorism.”

The court found him guilty of being a Mohareb, an enemy of God, and spreading corruption, two court rulings that carry the death penalty in Iran.

In his defence, Mirzai said he had been deceived by the CIA and was trained by U.S. intelligence forces to infiltrate the Islamic Republic intelligence system and become a U.S. informant. He claimed: “I did not personally intend to harm Iran. I planned to live in Iran and never return to the U.S.”

Iran announced Mirzai’s arrest in December and, soon after, aired his supposed confessions on state television.

The detainee’s father, Ali Hekmati, who lives in the U.S., has announced that his son was a former Arabic translator for the Marines and has never been a CIA agent. He claims that his son had travelled to Iran to visit his grandmother and was detained by Iranian authorities sometime in September.

The U.S. government has called on Iranian authorities to give Swiss diplomats access to Hekmati in prison. In the absence of an embassy, U.S. interests in Iran are represented by the Swiss government.