Head of strategic planning at Dubai-based Crescent Petroleum
Convicted of espionage in absentia and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Detained by the Revolutionary Guards in April 2018.
The Iranian-American businessman and his wife moved to Iran from the US in 2017.
Shargi, who is 58, was initially detained by the Revolutionary Guards in April 2018, when he was working in sales for Sarava, an Iranian venture capital fund. He was released on bail that December, when officials told him that a court had cleared him of spying charges that he had denied. However, authorities refused to return his passport.
In November 2020, Shargi was summoned by a Revolutionary Court and told that he had been convicted of espionage in absentia and sentenced to 10 years in prison, his family said. He was not imprisoned immediately and was released on bail ahead of an appeal.
In January 2021, Iran’s judiciary spokesman said an unnamed “defendant” facing spying charges had been arrested as he attempted to leave the country while on bail. It came a week after a state-backed news agency reported that Shargi had been detained while trying to cross Iran’s western border illegally.
His daughters wrote in the Washington Post in April 2021 that he was “trapped in terrible conditions” in prison and that he had only been allowed a couple of short, monitored phone calls.
In August 2023, Shargi was released to house arrest in anticipation of a prisoner exchange between the US and Iran.
His sister, Neda, said in a statement: “My family has faith in the work that President Biden and government officials have undertaken to bring our families home and hope to receive that news soon.”