Iran has sentenced an employee of the British Council to 10 years in prison on espionage charges, the country’s judiciary spokesman said Monday.
The woman, an Iranian citizen, was found guilty of cooperating with British spy agencies while working for the British Council – charges she “quickly and clearly” confessed to, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a press conference.
Esmaili did not identify the woman, but a London-based British Council employee, Aras Amiri, was arrested last year in Iran during a trip to visit relatives. It was not immediately clear if she was the individual sentenced Monday.
The British Council, a cultural and educational organization with branches around the world, does not have an office in Iran.
“We are a non-political organization committed to people-to-people engagement, and our staff are not connected to any espionage agency,” the organization said in a statement.
The charges come amid tensions between Iran and Britain over efforts to free another women – British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in 2016 as she was leaving Tehran. Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year term for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government – charges she denied.