NEW YORK, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Amir Mirzaei Hekmati's work with a reality-based war-game developer may have led to suspicion in Iran, where he was convicted of being a U.S. spy, analysts say.
The family of the former U.S. Marine from Flint, Mich., now on death row in Iran, says Hekmati's arrest and conviction is a grave misunderstanding.
Military analysts say it is highly unlikely the CIA would hire someone with such a visible military background, The New York Times reported Wednesday
The newspaper said Iranian investigators may have been intrigued by Hekmati's linguistics company, Lucid Linguistics, that specialized in Arabic, Persian and "military-related" translations.
However, Hekmati's consulting work with Kuma Games, which specializes in recreating military confrontations, may have been the trigger for his arrest, the newspaper said.
A small-business grant document posted online shows Hekmati was responsible for Kuma winning a contract with the Defense Department for the company to develop "an effective, cost-efficient, rapidly deployable and easily updatable language retention toolset for trainers and soldiers deployed around the world."
Iranian news accounts of his supposed confession included a passage in which Hekmati was allegedly quoted as saying that Kuma received money from the CIA, the Times reported.