TEHERAN (AFP) - The chief prosecutor of Teheran has revealed that there are as many as 70 spies serving sentences in the Iranian capital's prisons, far more than what had been estimated.
The 70 convicts had "offered intelligence to enemies in various fields including atomic, military, political, social and cultural", Mr Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said, quoted by the Mizan Online news website.
Mr Dolatabadi did not name the countries alleged to have recruited the spies.
Only a handful of cases of people charged with espionage had been made public in the Islamic republic prior to his comments, which were published late on Tuesday (Jan 3).
Among them are two Iranian-American dual nationals.
In October, business consultant Siamak Namazi and his 80-year-old father Baquer were given 10 years in prison for "espionage and collaboration with the American government".
The father, a former employee of the UN children's fund Unicef, was arrested when he returned to Iran to seek Siamak's release, a few months after his arrest.
The United States has demanded the release of the Namazis and has also expressed concerns about reports of the "declining health" of Baquer Namazi.
Nezar Zaka, a Lebanese national, was found guilty of "numerous deep links to the US military intelligence community" and handed a 10-year sentence on the same day as the Namazis, along with three Iranians.
Their names are Farhad Abd-Saleh, Kamran Ghaderi and Alireza Omidvar.