Iranian ex-nuclear official guilty of "propaganda"

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TEHRAN, Nov 27 (Reuters) Former Iranian atomic negotiator Hossein Mousavian, briefly detained in May on security-related accusations, has been found guilty of ''propaganda against the system'', a judiciary official said today.

Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi said Mousavian, who was freed on bail after a few days, had been acquitted of espionage and holding on to classified information when out of office, the official IRNA news agency reported.

It did not say when any trial took place.

The case has taken on a political dimension because of a dispute about how to handle Iran's atomic row with the West with some favouring the moderate line adopted by the nuclear team when Mousavian was in office and others backing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tougher approach.

Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. Iran has faced two rounds of UN sanctions for refusing to heed demands to halt uranium enrichment, a process with both civilian and military uses.

The nuclear team when Mousavian was in office suspended enrichment work. Ahmadinejad has vowed no retreat and has denounced those advocating a return to suspension as ''traitors''.

''Mousavian has been acquitted of two charges of espionage and holding on to classified information. The judge found him guilty of the accusation of propaganda against the system after the investigations,'' Jamshidi was quoted as saying.

A judiciary official confirmed the report to Reuters. He said the prosecutor could appeal the decision to drop two of the charges.

REUTERS RJ ND1542

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