A dual US-Iranian citizen has been sentenced to death for allegedly producing games encoded with western-leaning sentiments, as part of a wider CIA plan to stimulate a revolution within the country, according to state media reports.
Tehran aired a televised confession of Arizona-born Amir Mirza Hekmati (pictured), who appeared to admit he had acted as a CIA spy in the country while also creating games to manipulate public opinion in Iran on behalf of the US.
Hekmati is believed to be employed by New York games outfit Kuma Reality Games.
Washington has denounced Hekmati’s televised confession and has denied allegations that he is a spy.
The United States has demanded Hekmati’s immediate release but early reports suggest the game designer has been denied access to Swiss diplomats, who represent the US in Iran.
Hekmati can appeal to the Supreme Court, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei was quoted as saying.
Mohseni-Ejei said Hekmati was sentenced to death “for cooperating with the hostile country America and spying for the CIA,” according to a quotation from the ISNA news agency.
The ruling to execute Hekmati, who has dual US-Iranian citizenship, comes as amid diplomatic agitation between America and Iran.
Last year the oil rich nation managed to isolate itself from the Arab Spring that engulfed several nations in the surrounding area. If Hekmati had developed pro-west propaganda for the CIA, the court ruling could be seen as setting an example against opponents of the state.
State newspaper the Tehran Times has published what it claims are extracts from Hekmati’s televised confession, in which the games designer allegedly claimed that he joined the US army in 2001.
“After receiving general and specialized military training, I was sent to a special university to learn Middle Eastern languages,” he was quoted as saying.
“Afterwards, I entered Iraqi soil as an intelligence analyst and in US Army uniform, and my main mission was to identity a number of people among the country’s officials."
Following his spell in Iraq, Hekmati joined DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], the unverified confession claims.
“After [working for DARPA], I went to Kuma. This computer company was receiving money from the CIA to design and distribute for free special movies and games with the aim of manipulating public opinion in the Middle East. The goal of the company in question was to convince the people of Iran and the people of the entire world that whatever the US does in other countries is a good measure.”