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Split verdict for Iranian negotiator accused of spying

  • Story Highlights
  • Former nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian cleared of spy charges
  • But court finds him guilty of working against the regime
  • Sentence suspended, but it could be reinstated, spokesman says
  • Students protest verdict, chanting "Nuclear spy must be executed"
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From Shirzad Bozorgehr
CNN
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- An Iranian court on Tuesday cleared former nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian of charges of spying and possessing secret state documents, the state news agency IRNA said.

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Hossein Mousavian attends a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, in 2004.

But Mousavian was found guilty of working against the regime, judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi said.

Jamshidi said the judge suspended Mousavian's sentence, but could reinstate it if the prosecutor-general were to object to the suspension.

Mousavian, a former deputy chief of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, was accused last April of spying for foreign countries, possession of secret state documents and anti-regime activities.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stirred controversy a few weeks ago when, without naming Mousavian, he complained that forces were trying to influence the judiciary in the case of the nuclear espionage charges.

The judiciary reacted strongly, urging Ahmadinejad to remember that the judiciary is an independent branch of the government and is the only institution in Iran that can legally try individuals and issue a final verdict.

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The Associated Press reported that several dozen students protested against the verdict after the announcement, chanting "Death to compromisers" and "The nuclear spy must be executed."

The protesters scuffled with police outside the judiciary building, but there were no reports of injuries or arrests, the AP said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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