Iran has sentenced a 62-year-old man to a 10-year prison term on the charge of plotting against national security through acts of espionage, an Iranian judiciary official in the northeastern city of Mashhad says.
Hassan Heidari told IRNA on Monday that the man had been arrested five months ago following investigations by intelligence officials. He added that the spy had collected intelligence for an Arab country.
Heidari added that the man was recruited by a foreign intelligence service on the pretext of obtaining a visa to attend the annual Hajj rituals in Saudi Arabia.
The convict had also carried out acts of espionage for another country, he said but gave no more details.
The identity of the man has not been revealed.
Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei said in May 2016 that the country had apprehended a number of terrorists tasked by Saudi Arabia with carrying out bombings inside the Islamic Republic.
“The Saudis opened a consulate in Iraq’s Arbil and had a number of terrorist groups enter into Iran to carry out explosions; they all have been arrested,” he said, referring to the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan.
Saudi Arabia unilaterally severed its diplomatic ties with Iran in January last year after protests in front of its diplomatic premises in Tehran and Mashhad against the execution by Riyadh of notable Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.