close button
Switch to Iranwire Light?
It looks like you’re having trouble loading the content on this page. Switch to Iranwire Light instead.
switch sites
Politics

American Held In Iran Urges Biden To Make “Tough Decisions” To Free Jailed US Citizens

January 23, 2023
3 min read
Siamak Namazi, who remains behind bars in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, has been held in Iran for seven years, longer than any other American in history
Siamak Namazi, who remains behind bars in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, has been held in Iran for seven years, longer than any other American in history

An Iranian American jailed in Iran has ended a hunger strike after seven days, saying it is time for President Joe Biden to make “tough decisions” to secure the release of US nationals incarcerated by the Islamic Republic.

Siamak Namazi, who remains behind bars in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, has been held in Iran for seven years, longer than any other American in history.

He announced the end of his strike through a statement released by his lawyer on January 23, saying he was heartened by the support and media coverage he had received.

“The deluge of coverage gave me the strength to carry on when my body was at its weakest. It lifted all our spirits and renewed our hope,” Namazi said.

“Please continue to raise awareness about our plight and don’t get inured to our being Iran’s hostage. Don’t let President Biden leave us in this abyss of misery.”

The Dubai-based businessman was arrested in October 2015 on a business trip to Iran. He and his father Baquer Namazi, a retired UNICEF official who was arrested when trying to visit his son in 2016, were both convicted on charges of “collaboration with a hostile foreign government,” the United States.

The elder Namazi was able to leave Iran last year to get medical treatment.

Siamak Namazi says he was “left behind” of a prisoner swap that occurred seven years ago when a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers went into effect in 2016.

The United States calls the charges against Namazi baseless. Washington has repeatedly said it was working to free him and two other U.S. citizens, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Sharghi, it says are unjustly held by the Islamic Republic.

An unknown number of permanent U.S. legal residents are also imprisoned in Iran.

Western governments have accused the Iranian authorities of taking dual and foreign nationals hostage for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps.

Namazi’s lawyer, Jared Genser, said his client had lost about 4.5 kilograms and that his blood pressure spiked above normal levels after he launched the hunger strike. He also suffered a drop in energy and a reduction in his ability to focus, and he struggled to stay warm.

“I went on hunger strike because I’ve learned the hard way that U.S. presidents tend to rely more on their political thermometer than their moral compass when deciding whether or not to enter a prisoner deal with Iran — or indeed who to include in one,” Namazi said in his statement.

Namazi referred to the women-led protest movement that has swept Iran for more than four months, expressing his admiration for female political prisoners held at Evin.

“Everyone here for the sole crime of speaking their mind and for demanding their rights and the rule of law deserves our attention and respect,” Namazi said.

“I particularly want to shine a light on the indomitable political prisoners in the women’s ward. Just like outside, inside these walls these dauntless women face far more restrictions than the men do, yet they display the kind of courage that we, frankly, fail to pluck. They are truly an inspiration to us all.”

comments

Politics

Iranian Women Prisoners Say “No” To Executions

January 23, 2023
1 min read
Iranian Women Prisoners Say “No” To Executions