November 3, 2015 / 1:21 PM / 2 years ago

Iran arrests U.S.-Lebanese man in espionage probe: state TV, citing sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian authorities have arrested an American-Lebanese man who they said was linked to the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, state broadcaster IRIB said on Tuesday.

It named the man as Nizar Zakka, an IT expert who Lebanese media reported last week had disappeared on Sept. 18 after attending a conference in Tehran.

The report, which cited informed sources, is the first official confirmation of his arrest.

“Nizar Zakka has deep ties to the U.S. intelligence and military establishment,” IRIB quoted an unnamed source as saying.

Iranian authorities also arrested U.S.-Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi in October while he was visiting family in Iran, a source said last week.

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Monday the ministry had been discussing ways to combat foreign influence in the country as Tehran begins to implement a nuclear deal that will lift sanctions and open Iran to foreign businesses.

The authorities also arrested two Iranian journalists on Monday. The head of the judiciary dismissed international condemnation of what appears to be a crackdown on local writers and artists.

(The story was refiled to correct sourcing for Namazi arrest in paragraph 5 and to add the dropped word ‘said’ to paragraph 1)

Reporting by Sam Wilkin; Editing by Angus MacSwan/Ruth Pitchford

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