He was detained along with seven other members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation on 24 January.
A colleague of Iranian-Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami describes the professor's death in prison in Iran as a "profound tragedy".
The Iran Sociological Association, to which Seyed Emami belonged, questioned the government's official version of events.
"Tehran's prosecutor said those individuals, in the context of implementing scientific and environmental projects, sought to collect information ... on the country's strategic areas", a report by the state-run IRNA news agency said, without elaborating. "Some of them were arrested and some others might be arrested soon", the head of Tehran's Justice department Gholamhossein Esmaili told ILNA.
"Some people who collected and transferred information to strangers were identified and some were arrested, and some might be arrested in the future", he reportedly said.
His son, musician Raam Emami, tweeted that his father was arrested on January 24, and that the news of his death was released to his mother, Maryam, on Friday.
On Instagram, he added that authorities say his father committed suicide. "I still can't believe this", Raam Emami wrote from an unknown location.
An Iranian official in Tehran said more arrests were expected in connection with Seyed-Emami's organization.
A senior official with the UN Environment Programme, Gary Lewis, tweeted that Seyed Emami was "a good man who loved #nature and Iran. I think any of the number of us who had the occasion to meet him while he was over here are all feeling like it's a very big loss, he's a fine person", he said. At least 25 people were killed in clashes surrounding the demonstrations.
Worldwide affairs expert Elliott Tepper told Reuters that "suicide" cases like these often means "they were beaten or tortured to death in prison".
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Former federal cabinet minister and Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney shared a link to a newspaper report about Emami's death.
They include an Iranian-American dual national, Morad Tahbaz, CHRI said.
Dozens of dual nationals are in jail in Iran, mostly on spying charges.
Human rights groups outside the country have accused Iranian authorities of systematic abuses in prisons.
A Iranian-Canadian professor and environmental activist has died in Iran after he was arrested on what observers call "trumped-up charges". Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman, also is serving a five-year prison sentence for allegedly planning the "soft toppling" of Iran's government while travelling with her young daughter.
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The short shutdown on Friday morning was the second shutdown that has occurred during President Donald Trump's presidency. USA politicians have passed a bipartisan budget agreement , ending the second government shutdown in as many months.
"So given Kavous was 63 years old, I am very concerned".
He is also listed as managing director of the which works to protect threatened wildlife in Iran.
Former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized Central Intelligence Agency mission, remains missing as well.
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