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Ex-president’s ally sentenced in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian court sentenced a close ally of former hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to 6½ years in prison, the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency reported Wednesday.

The report quoted Tehran Justice Department chief Gholamhossein Esmaili as saying Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei was sentenced to five years for plotting and conspiring to commit crimes against national security, one year for propaganda against the Islamic Republic system and six months for insulting officials.

The sentencing can be appealed within 20 days.

Esmaili also said there are other cases against Mashaei in court that will be announced after the prosecution process.

In March, Mashaei was detained after he burned a copy of a court verdict sentencing Hamid Baghaei, another Ahmadinejad ally, to 15 years for misuse of public funds when he was Ahmadinejad’s vice president.

Several of Ahmadinejad’s allies are in jail on similar charges.

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