September 12, 2018 / 11:23 AM / 10 days ago

Former Iran VP sentenced for threatening national security: Tasnim

GENEVA (Reuters) - A Iranian former vice president was sentenced to six and a half years in prison on Wednesday for threatening national security and other charges, the Tasnim news agency reported.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie was sentenced to five years for threatening national security, one year for spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic and six months for insulting judiciary officials, according to Tasnim.

Rahim Mashaie has long been a lightning rod for criticism from Iran’s hardliners, in part because of a 2008 comment that the Islamic Republic is friendly with the people of its sworn foe Israel.

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Rahim Mashaie as his vice president in 2009, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, objected.

Ahmadinejad then appointed Rahim Mashaie, whose daughter is married to Ahmadinejad’s son, as chief of staff.

A top press aide to Ahmadinejad, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, also received a sentence of four years for threatening national security as part of the same case, Tasnim reported.

Tasnim did not provide any further details on the cases involving the aides to Ahmadinejad, who was president from 2005 until 2013, or when the offences they were convicted of occurred.

Rahim Mashaie was arrested in March and Javanfekr in August, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported

Rahim Mashaei faces further charges, Gholamhossein Esmaili, the head of the justice department in Tehran province said Wednesday, according to Tasnim, without giving further details.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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