Iran sentences US man to 10 years in prison on spying charges

Associated Press
·1 min read
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani - Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS/File Photo
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani - Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS/File Photo

An Iranian-American has been sentenced by Iran to 10 years in prison on spying charges, despite his family alleging he never had a trial or an opportunity to defend himself, becoming the latest dual national held in the country amid tensions with the West.

A family spokesman confirmed the sentencing of Emad Shargi. Iran's judiciary acknowledged the sentence without naming him or saying how many years in prison he'd face.

Mr Shargi's case represents the first to land publicly on the administration of Joe Biden. Mr Biden has expressed a willingness to re-enter the nuclear deal, but has said he wants Iran to return to the limits of the deal first. Iran has demanded the US first lift sanctions.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili claimed Mr Shargi had been freed on bail and re-arrested while trying to flee the country.

While saying he had no information on the details of Mr Shargi's arrest, the family spokesman said he was cleared of all charges in December 2019, only to be convicted in absentia later.

"He was called to court one day in late November 2020 and simply shown a judgment finding him guilty, having never been presented any evidence, given an opportunity to respond or being put on trial," the spokesman said.

The US State Department said it was "aware of the reports that Iran has detained another US citizen."

Mr Esmaili, speaking to journalists Tuesday, said Mr Shargi had been convicted on espionage charges and of providing military information to foreign countries.