The wife of an Iranian-Austrian man sentenced recently by an Iranian court to 10 years in prison on spying charges has told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that her husband is a “simple businessman” unjustly imprisoned.
Hanika Ghaderi’s husband, businessman Kamran Ghaderi, was initially detained in Tehran in January but his conviction and sentence for espionage and cooperation with the United States were revealed earlier this week.
“How can they say something like that about Kamran? I don’t understand,” Ghaderi’s wife said, adding that he had no ties to the United States and was not involved in politics.
She said the family is planning to appeal the sentence.
Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said on October 18 that the 52-year-old Ghaderi was among six individuals who received 10-year sentences for what he described as spying and working with the hostile government in Washington.
The others include 80-year-old Iranian-American Baquer Namazi and his son Siamak Namazi, Farhad Abd-Saleh, Alireza Omidvar, and Nizar Zakka.
Ghaderi is the CEO of Avanoc, an IT management and consulting company that has worked in Iran for many years, his wife told Radio Farda.
“Everything he’s [been] doing is legal,” she added.
Hanika Ghaderi said her husband was among a number of Austrian businessmen and companies at an official Austrian-Iranian trade meeting in Tehran in 2015 that was attended by senior officials, including former Austrian President Heinz Fischer.
“He was working in Iran; it’s not forbidden,” she said.
She said Ghaderi, a father of three, was detained during a business trip to Iran and was being held at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
The family did not publicize the case at the time on advice from Ghaderi’s lawyer, she said, adding that he had assured them that her husband would be released.
Bu the prison sentence has prompted her to speak out in the media.
Her husband was allowed to call his mother in April for the first time since his arrest, she said. Since then, she added, Ghaderi’s mother has been allowed to visit him in prison every second week.
Ghaderi’s wife said that her husband has lost a lot of weight since his arrest.
The prison sentences against a number of dual nationals, whom Tehran regards merely as Iranians, comes amid a power struggle between allies of the reform-minded President Hassan Rohani and hard-line factions such as the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who oppose any opening of the country following last year’s nuclear agreement with world powers to ease international sanctions.