High profile Iranian Sasha Sobhani fears for his life after Tehran extradition request

Interpol notice accuses diplomat's son of human trafficking and running illegal gambling websites

Sasha Sobhani has lived for nearly two years in Spain where he has requested asylum. Sasha Sobhani's Instagram.
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The son of a leading Iranian diplomat, who has documented his extravagant lifestyle on social media, fears for his life if he is extradited from Spain to Tehran to face human trafficking charges.

Sasha Sobhani, whose father is the former Iranian ambassador to Venezuela, has requested asylum in Spain where he has lived for nearly two years.

He is also accused by Iran of money laundering and running illegal gambling webpages.

The request for his extradition came from Tehran via Interpol last week and Mr Sobhani's case is being heard in a Spanish court.

He denies the charges and says the regime is angered by his way of life, which he displays via his Instagram account to his 2.6 million followers. Mr Sobhani’s account is full of photos of expensive cars, private planes, scantily clad women and alcohol.

Mr Sobhani said he would be tortured in Iran and would rather die than suffer in an Iranian jail.

“I prefer a grave in Spain than a prison in Iran, but I trust Spanish justice," he said.

Mr Sobhani, a recording artist, told El Mundo newspaper that the Iranian regime was angered by his interactions with his mainly Persian-speaking followers, in which he has criticised the authorities in Iran and the lack of freedom in the country.

“And of course, Iran cannot allow the son of someone in a high position to say those things. As I have so many followers, I have had contracts to advertise online casinos, but they are not mine, I only advertise them,” he said.

Mr Sobhani, 33, said he hasn’t spoken to his father in years and that for most of his life he has not lived in Iran.

When he returned briefly in 2013, Mr Sobhani admitted to holding clandestine parties and was sentenced to two years in jail but fled the country for Turkey.

"In the end I don't have any Iranian friends, because the people there think that I am an enemy of the regime because of the life I lead,” he said.

However, he said that those who live abroad see him as his father’s son, who lives a luxurious life because of his family’s wealth.

“But I earn the money with my work, nobody has given it to me,” he said.