American-Iranian Citizen Accused of Spying Arrested Fleeing Iran
Officials in Tehran confirmed Tuesday that a man holding American and Iranian citizenship who is convicted of “spying and collecting information” against Iran has been arrested while allegedly attempting to leave the country.
Emad Edward Sharghi, shown in a video on the state-affiliated YJC news website being escorted off of a plane reportedly on January 14, was convicted in late November. Sharghi received a 10-year jail sentence, but was out on bail pending an appeals process, according to reports.
The arrest – six days before US President Joe Biden’s first day in office, and ahead of the confirmation of his arrest on Tuesday – comes during a period when a change in US-Iranian relations after the Trump administration is expected. Observers believe the arrest is an effort to add more pressure on the US administration in negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
Iran ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, told NBC News on Tuesday that Iran is open to a prisoner swap with the US. “We are ready to engage on a comprehensive exchange of all prisoners or detainees on both sides,” he said, adding that it “is a very simple and straightforward proposition.”