Iran said on Monday it had sentenced an Iranian woman to 10 years prison for spying for Britain, amid rising tension between the Islamic Republic and some Western countries over its nuclear and missile programmes.
Esmaili did not identify the suspect by name or gender.
He said the convict, who was arrested by Iranian intelligence and security organizations, had been cooperating with the British espionage service and was tasked with designing, managing and planning cultural infiltration projects in Iran. He did not specify whether she held British nationality.
The UK is now engaged in a protracted effort to free another woman, the dual British-Iranian national, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, from prison in Tehran. It was not immediately clear if she was the individual sentenced Monday.
Ms Amiri, an Iranian national, was arrested in March 2018 while visiting her sick grandmother in Tehran. Funding from the UK's foreign office makes up about 15 percent of its overall income.
Arrests of Iranians accused of espionage has increased since the Islamic Republic's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said previous year there had been "infiltration" by Western agents in the country. He did not identify her, but said she was a student in Britain before being recruited by the British Council.
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The British Foreign Office said it was "very concerned" at the reports.
"Our colleague's safety and wellbeing remain our first concern, as it has been throughout their detention".
A London-based British Council employee, Aras Amiri, was arrested in Iran in 2018 during a trip to visit relatives.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband revealed earlier this year that his wife had been asked to spy on the United Kingdom in exchange for her freedom, which she refused. "We are in close contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office", the British Council said. We have not been able to confirm any further details at this stage. "British embassy officials in Tehran are in touch with the Iranian government to seek further information", it added.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was put on trial and is now serving a five-year jail sentence for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government.