DUBAI – Iran has arrested a member of the team that negotiated a landmark nuclear deal with world powers on suspicion of spying, a judiciary spokesman said on Sunday.
The suspect was released on bail after a few days in jail but is still under investigation, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said at a regular weekly news conference, calling the unidentified individual a “spy who had infiltrated the nuclear team,” state media reported.
The deal that President Hassan Rouhani struck last year has given Iran relief from most international sanctions in return for curbing its nuclear program, but it is opposed by hardliners who see it as a capitulation to the United States.
Iran, the United States and five other world powers reached a landmark deal last year, under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in such a way as to ensure it cannot develop nuclear weapons in exchange for a lifting of the economic sanctions.
Earlier in August, Iran executed an Iranian nuclear scientist who had been detained since 2010 when he returned home from the United States, after a court convicted him of spying for Washington.
“Through his connection with the United States, (Shahram) Amiri gave vital information about the country to the enemy,” Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told a weekly news conference, state news agency IRNA reported.
Mohseni Ejei said a court had sentenced Amiri to death and the sentence had been upheld by Iran’s Supreme court, IRNA said.
Amiri, a university researcher working for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, disappeared during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2009, and later surfaced in the United States. But he returned to Iran in 2010 and received a hero’s welcome before being arrested.
A US official said in 2010 that Washington had received “useful information” from Amiri.
Iran had accused the CIA of kidnapping Amiri. US officials said Amiri had been free to come and go as he pleased, and that he may have returned because of pressures on his family in Iran.