A member of Iran’s team of nuclear negotiators that struck the 2015 deal with world powers has been sentenced to five years in prison on espionage charges, Tasnim news agency reported on October 4.
While not identified in the report and described only as a “spy who had infiltrated the team,” the single negotiator known to be facing criminal charges is dual Iranian-Canadian national Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani. He was sentenced to five years in prison, according to the report.
Iran does not recognize dual citizenship for Iranians, which means that his Canadian citizenship does not afford Esfahani diplomatic protections that foreign prisoners receive in Iran.
Esfahani was an adviser to Iran’s central bank and was believed to have helped the country’s nuclear negotiators bargain for the sanctions relief contained in the 2015 nuclear agreement.
In August 2016, news outlets said authorities detained Esfahani, who reportedly worked as a member of a parallel team focusing on lifting economic sanctions against Iran as part of the nuclear deal. He was later granted bail.
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Esfahani reportedly served as a member of the Iranian team working at The Hague on disputes between Iran and the United States over pre-revolution purchases of military equipment from the US by Iran. He is a member of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants in Canada. He also has served as an adviser to the head of Central Bank of Iran.