Middle East

Iran arrests nuclear deal negotiator on spying charge

In this Jan. 16, 2016 file-pool photo, Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Image copyright AP
Image caption US and Iranian foreign ministers were key to the nuclear deal negotiations

An Iranian man has been arrested on suspicion of informing about Iran's nuclear deal with the West.

A judiciary spokesman described the unidentified man as a "spy who had infiltrated the nuclear team".

The man was held for several days, Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi said, before being released on bail.

Last year's nuclear deal was widely celebrated in Iran and internationally, but some Iranian hardliners saw it as a capitulation to the US.

The deal with the US, UK, China, France, Germany and Russia resulted in the lifting of sanctions against Iran imposed over its nuclear programme.

Economic 'spy'

No details have been given about the arrest and it remains unclear on whether it is the same case as the one reported on Wednesday by semi-official Iranian news agency Tabnak.

It said that Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, a dual-national in charge of banking issues during the two-year negotiations, was arrested for "selling the country's economic details to foreigners".

But Mr Dorri Esfahani later gave an interview with Tabnak in which he dismissed the reports as "ridiculous".

He was a member of a parallel team working on lifting economic sanctions, under one of the main negotiators for the deal, Iranian media reported.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said last week that the suspect was "active in the field of the Iranian economy, and was linked to the British espionage service".

Unconfirmed reports in Iranian media linked the detained man with US and British intelligence.

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