Bloomberg News

Iran Airs Images of Held Man Accused of Being U.S.-Trained Spy

December 20, 2011

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Iranian media broadcast images of a man arrested on charges of spying for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and allegedly sent to infiltrate the intelligence ministry.

The man was identified as Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, an American of Iranian descent, state-run Press TV said on its website. Hekmati, who was born in Arizona, said he joined the U.S. Army in 2001 after completing high school, according to the state-run Fars news agency. He underwent military and intelligence training and was later sent to the U.S.-run Bagram air base in Afghanistan where he was given access to classified intelligence before flying to Tehran, Press TV said.

Hekmati said he was asked to win the trust of Iran’s intelligence ministry by providing a mix of accurate and erroneous information, Press TV said.

The arrest comes amid escalating tension between Iran and the U.S., which are at loggerheads over the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program, and less than two weeks after Iranian authorities got hold of a U.S. drone plane used for gathering intelligence.

--Editors: Ben Holland, Louis Meixler.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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