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Jailed In Iran For Over 7 Years, Siamak Namazi Implores Biden To Win His Freedom

March 10, 2023
2 min read
Namazi has been incarcerated in Iran for more than seven years.
Namazi has been incarcerated in Iran for more than seven years.

Iran's longest-serving American prisoner, has given a rare interview from Tehran's Evin prison imploring President Joe Biden to secure his release and that of two other US nationals.

Iranian American Siamak Namazi has been incarcerated for more than seven years.

"I implore you, sir, to put the lives and liberty of innocent Americans above all the politics involved and to just do what is necessary to end this nightmare and bring us home," Namazi told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in a telephone interview on March 9.

The 51-year-old Namazi was speaking on behalf of himself, Emad Shargi, 58, a businessman and US citizen, and environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 67, who has both US and British nationality.

Namazi went on a week-long hunger strike in January, saying it was time for Biden to make “tough decisions” to secure the release of US nationals incarcerated by the Islamic Republic.

"I remain deeply worried that the White House just doesn't appreciate how dire our situation has become," he told CNN, adding that he, Tahbaz and Shargi were all now held in the same place.

Namazi also called it "hurtful and upsetting" that the US president had not met his family "just to give them some words of assurance."

A White House spokesperson said on condition of anonymity that "senior officials from both the White House and the State Department meet and consult regularly with the Namazi family, and we will continue to do so until this unacceptable detention ends."

The spokesperson also said that the Islamic Republic’s “unjust imprisonment and exploitation of US citizens for use as political leverage is outrageous, inhumane, and contrary to international norms.”

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

Last month, Iranian and US media reports said that indirect negotiations were under way between the United States and Iran on a possible prisoner swap.

Namazi, a Dubai-based businessman, was arrested in October 2015 on a business trip to Iran. Early in his detention, he said he spent months caged in a cell, sleeping on the floor.

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 spying charges the United States rejects as baseless.

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


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