The Corner

Death Sentence for American in Iran Overturned

In Iran, a Marine veteran who was arrested last August in Iran, accused of espionage, and sentenced to death has had that court ruling overturned by the Iranian Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Iranian Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a death sentence for a former American Marine signaled an effort to ease tensions with the West — or else use him as a political pawn, analysts said Monday.

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, a 28-year-old American of Iranian heritage who has been in detention since August, will face a retrial in a separate court, the judiciary said. Mr. Hekmati was the first American to face execution in Iran in the 33-year history of the Islamic Republic. . . .

Iran has often arrested dual national citizens with an Iranian passport or foreigners and accused them of espionage. Their cases often follow a pattern: exaggerated charges, coerced confessions, opaque court hearings and harsh sentences. Ultimately most of those arrested are released and allowed to leave Iran after intense international pressure and negotiations.

Among such cases were three American hikers who allegedly crossed into Iran’s territory illegally and the American journalist Roxana Saberi and French scholar Clotilde Rice in what some speculated to be an exchange.

Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.


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