A Study in Contrasts: A Man and a Woman — Both Born in Iran

The Man

A U.S. man of Iranian descent has been sentenced to death by a court in Tehran for spying for the CIA.

Amir Mirzai Hekmati was “sentenced to death for co-operating with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and trying to implicate Iran in terrorism,” semi-official Fars news agency said.

The 28-year-old’s U.S.-based family says he was in Iran visiting grandparents.

The sentence comes at a time of fresh tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that further sanctions imposed by the West “will not have any impact on our nation.”

“The Islamic establishment…knows firmly what it is doing and has chosen its path and will stay the course,” he said in a speech broadcast on state television.

Iran says that, as a former U.S. marine, Mr. Hekmati received training at U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq before being sent to Iran for his alleged intelligence-gathering mission.

Source: BBC (January 9)

The Woman

The woman [Canadian] Defence Minister Peter MacKay married has an impressive résumé.

Nazanin Afshin-Jam holds degrees in international relations and political science and is the co-founder and president of Stop Child Executions, a human-rights group committed to focusing attention on young people who are on death row in Iran.

She is an Iranian-born pilot and former Miss World Canada who also enjoyed moderate success as a mono-named singer.

Source: Globe and Mail (January 5)

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