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Tehran slams US verdict against Iranian national

Tehran has strongly condemned a US court’s decision to sentence an Iranian national to five years in prison, as “illegal and unacceptable.”

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said that Tehran would make serious diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Amir-Hossein Ardebili.

“The information we have received about Mr. Ardebili shows that he is going to be condemned to time in prison in an illegal manner,” he said, during the press briefing.

“We will definitely disagree with that. This is illegal and we are trying our best to ensure that the court revokes this illegitimate verdict,” he added.

Mehman-Parast’s comments came after a US District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, handed out a five-year term to Ardebili based on prosecutor’s claim that he had “secretly pleaded guilty” to arms smuggling and weapons export charges.

Ardebili was abducted in the Republic of Georgia in October 2007 and handed over to the US government in January 2008.

Iran, however, has condemned the whole ordeal arguing that based on international law officials in Tbilisi were obliged to extradite the Iranian national to the Islamic Republic, instead of giving him up to US agents.

According to claims made by US prosecutors, Ardebili had to face trial for seeking to acquire military equipment, such as aircraft parts and night vision devices, for Iran.

This is while the purchase of parts for F-4 fighter planes through a mediator is not defined as a criminal offense in international law.

Additionally, international regulations do not allow the US government to abduct Iranian nationals from other countries based on these charges.

Ardebili is one of 11 Iranian nationals who have been kidnapped under suspicious circumstances outside of Iran’s borders.

Alireza Asgari, Shahram Amiri, and Iran’s former ambassador to Jordon Nasrollah Tajik are among the other victims.

Asgari was abducted in Turkey in December 9, 2007. Amiri went missing while on a pilgrimage to Medina around six months ago. Tajik was also taken into British custody, where he still remains, in November 2006 after disappearing in France.

At the Tuesday press conference, Mehman-Parast also brought up Amiri’s case and said that US intelligence was aware of his whereabouts.

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