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Iran sentences 4 to prison for alleged coup plot

[JURIST] The Tehran Revolutionary Court announced Saturday that it has convicted [PressTV report] four Iranians of being involved in an alleged US-supported plan to overthrow the Iranian government. The court said that the four men had confessed to planning to overthrow the Iranian government in cooperation with the US State Department and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official websites]. Last Tuesday, Iranian judiciary [official website] spokesman Alireza Jamshidi announced the men's arrest, and said that they had received funding for the alleged coup from US President George W. Bush's administration. Neither the identities of the men nor the prison sentences they were given have been released. Responding to a question [State Department release] on whether the US was involved in such a plan, a State Department spokesperson said such allegations were "baseless," and said that Iran was using the charges to quiet political activists.

In June, Iran confirmed [JURIST report] that it was detaining Iranian-American peace activist Ali Shakeri [advocacy website] after Bush strongly condemned [JURIST report] Iran's detention of Shakeri and three other Iran-Americans, including Dr. Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile], Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh [OSI press release], and Radio Farda [media website] correspondent Parnaz Azima. In May, Iran formally charged Tajbakhsh and Azima [JURIST report] for conspiring against the government. Earlier that month, Iran formally charged Esfandiari [JURIST report], director of the Middle East Program at the DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars [think tank website], with plotting to overthrow the Iranian government by organizing a network "against the sovereignty of the country."

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