VIDEO: Former U.S. Marine sentenced to death in Iran

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Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, 28, has been sentenced to death, accused of committing espionage against Iran on behalf of the United States. (Photo from AP video.)

A former United States Marine has been sentenced to death in Iran, the reclusive Middle Eastern nation announced Monday in a broadcast on state radio.

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Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, 28, will be the first members of the American armed forces sentenced to death in Iran since the Islamic revolution 30 years ago, The New York Times reported. Hekmati is an Iranian-American from Arizona.

Hekmati is accused of working for the CIA and having been sent to Iran to try and infiltrate Iranian state security forces. He was arrested in August of 2011.

In a video broadcast in December, Hekmati is shown admitting he works for the CIA and said he was sent there to conduct espionage. Hekmati's family insists he traveled to Iran to visit an elderly family member.

Under Iranian law, Hekmati has 20 days to appeal his sentence. The U.S. State Department has demanded his release.

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