Iran's high court dismisses death sentence against American

Iran's supreme court threw out a death sentence Monday against Amir Mirza Hekmati, an Iranian-American convicted of spying by a lower court and sentenced to be executed.

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    Iranian-American Amir Mirza Hekmati, whose death sentence by Iran's Revolutionary Court on the charge of spying for the CIA has been overturned by Iran's supreme court, speaks during a recorded interview in an undisclosed location, in this undated still image taken from video made available to Reuters TV on January 9.
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Iran's supreme court on Monday dismissed an execution sentence passed by a revolutionary court against an Iranian-American national accused of spying for the CIA, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"The supreme court nullified the execution sentence against Amir Mirza Hekmati and sent it to an affiliate court," said judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei without giving further details.

Hekmati, a 28-year-old of Iranian descent born in the state of Arizona, was arrested in December and Iran's Intelligence Ministry accused him of receiving training at U.S. bases in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq.

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The United States urged Iran to grant Hekmati access to legal counsel and to release him without delay.

Iran's judiciary said Hekmati admitted to having links with the CIA but denied any intention of harming Iran, which has had no relations with the United States since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. Mutual antagonism has reigned since.

The State Department has said Iran did not permit diplomats from the Swiss Embassy, which represents U.S. interests in Iran, to see him before or during his trial.

Hekmati graduated from a Michigan high school. His father Ali is a professor at a community college in Flint, Michigan.

Iran, which often accuses its foes of trying to destabilise its Islamic system, said in May it had arrested 30 people on suspicion of spying for the United States and later 15 people were indicted for spying for Washington and Israel.

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