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June 23, 2017

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Iran rejects US demand for release of dual national charged with spying

TEHRAN--Iran said on Wednesday it would accept no U.S. "interference" after Washington demanded the release of a dual national and his 80-year-old father given 10 year sentences for espionage.

The State Department demanded the immediate release of Siamak and Baqher Namazi, both Iranian-American dual nationals, after their sentences were announced on Tuesday.

But foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told Iranian media: "The government and the Iranian people give no importance to the statements and interference of American officials and their efforts to divide the ranks of the Iranian people.

"The American threats only add to the wall of mistrust Iranians have regarding the United States."

Washington expressed concern over the health of the elder Namazi, a former U.N. Children's Fund employee who also served as the governor of an Iranian province before the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Both were jailed for 10 years for "espionage and collaboration with the American government", Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolat-Abadi announced on Tuesday.

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