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Iran seeks death penalty for alleged spy

TEHRAN, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Iran is seeking the death penalty for an American man accused of working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, officials said.

At his trial Tuesday, Amir Mirzayee Hekmati said the CIA sent him to Iran to infiltrate Iran's intelligence systems, Iran's Fars News Agency reported.

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"In this mission I was fooled by the CIA and although I had entered Iran with a mission to infiltrate in the Islamic Republic of Iran's intelligence systems and to turn into a new source for the CIA, I didn't want to hit [a] blow to Iran," Hekmati said.

Family members say the confession was coerced. "My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man," his father, Ali Hekmati of Flint, Mich., told ABC News last week. "These are all unfounded allegations and a bunch of lies."

The 28-year-old Arizona native was arrested in August while visiting family in Iran. He served in the U.S. Marines from 2001 to 2005 before starting his own contracting business, working with troops at military bases to promote better cultural understanding of Iran, his family told CNN.

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