CAIRO, July 7 (Xinhua) -- An Egyptian criminal court sentenced on Sunday five defendants to 25 years in jail and another to 15 years for spying for Iran, official MENA news agency reported.
The defendants included an Egyptian man in custody, who was handed a 25-year jail term, and five Iranian fugitives including a woman.
The prosecution charged the Egyptian defendant with providing information and reports to the Iranian defendants about Egypt's domestic conditions from 2012 to 2016, pointing out that the Iranian fugitives worked for Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
"The first defendant committed espionage in favor of a foreign country and those working for it to harm Egypt's military and political positions and its national interests," the prosecution said.
He received money from the IRGC partners to spread Iran's Islamic Shiism in Sunni Egypt through establishing a center, launching a website, issuing publications and attracting recruits, it added.
The order of Cairo Criminal Court included seizing the man's computers, mobile phones, hard disks and documents and referring them to the Egyptian intelligence agency.
The criminal court's order is still appealable.
Ties between Egypt and Iran have been tense for decades, since Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
After a popular uprising in early 2011 ousted former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a breakthrough appeared in Cairo-Tehran relations but vanished later following the popularly-backed military removal of Egypt's former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in mid-2013.
Over the past few years, Egypt has repeatedly condemned what it described as Iran's interference in the domestic affairs of Arab states and its alleged support for the ballistic missile attacks by Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels on Saudi Arabia, a key regional ally of Egypt.