We may never know all the circumstances, but it is alarming that a former U.S. Marine -- who reportedly was on a trip to visit his grandmother in Iran -- has been sentenced to die there. Amir Hekmati, an American whose parents were from Iran, was convicted by an Iranian court of spying for the CIA.
And yet Iran had approved his visit to that country, even though his application told Iran about his military service -- including in Iraq -- and his later work as a Pentagon contractor and subcontractor. In fact, he was assured by Iran that he would be in no jeopardy if he traveled there.
That raises serious doubts about Iran's claims, and the Obama administration denies Hekmati is a spy. Iran may have been looking to allow a visit by a U.S. citizen whose past it could use to claim he was a spy so it could then arrest him and use him as a political pawn in the showdown over Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Hekmati is in a serious predicament, though, whatever the facts may be. We'll have to wait to see if some sort of deal leads to his freedom -- or if he will be executed by the radical Muslim regime that controls Iran.