Iran has rejected US President Trump’s demand for release of detained Americans, describing it as an “interference and unacceptable stand”, local media reported on Sunday. “The meddlesome and threatening statements by the US would not affect the Iranian Judiciary’s determination to prosecute and punish the violators of Iran’s law and national security,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency. Qasemi stressed the independence of Iranian Judiciary, adding that it is responsible to deal with the actions and moves that threaten the national security. He also said that the US administration is pursuing an incorrect and illegal approach of threatening other countries and interfering in their internal affairs.
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The spokesman asked Washington to immediately release the Iranian nationals who have been jailed in the US on “false” charges. On Friday, Trump warned Iran of “new and serious consequences” if Iran did not release the imprisoned Americans. “President Trump is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned American citizens are released and returned,” said the White House in a statement. The US statement followed earlier remarks by an Iranian Judiciary official that an Iranian court has sentenced a US national to 10 years in prison over spying charges.
The person who holds dual nationality of the US and another country had snooped into Iran to gather documents and intelligence, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie, spokesman for Iranian Judiciary, told the reporters. Iran has sentenced several such nationals, some of them hold US citizenship, over spying charges in the past few years. The latest example dates back to September 2016, when Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced the arrest of an Iranian-American in the country’s northeastern province of Golestan over charges of spying and breaching security. In August 2016, Iran reportedly arrested another person, also with dual citizenships, accusing him of links to Britain’s foreign intelligence service MI6.