Iran Jails U.S. Dual National Businessman for Spying, NBC Says

An Iranian-American businessman has been sentenced by a court in Tehran to 10 years in jail for spying, NBC news reported.

Quoting a family friend whom it didn’t identify, NBC news said Emad Shargi was first summoned to court on Nov. 30 and told he had been convicted.

He was arrested while trying to leave the country via its western border on Dec. 6 after being released on bail on charges of spying and “gathering military intelligence,” Iran’s state-run Young Journalists’ Club reported last week.

The YJC report didn’t make any reference to Shargi’s U.S. citizenship, but contained several mentions of his links to a venture capital fund in Iran called Sarava, which is behind some of the country’s biggest e-commerce companies.

The arrest comes as Joe Biden prepares to take office in the U.S. and seeks to end a standoff with Iran by reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

Sarava issued a statement on its website on Jan. 15 saying that Shargi’s case had nothing to do with the company and that he left the group after 11 months in 2018.

Citing the family friend, NBC said Shargi moved back to Iran with his wife in 2016 after spending years studying in the U.S. He was first arrested in April 2018 and jailed for about seven months, the friend said, adding that his passports have been withheld by authorities since December 2019.

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