US media report that the United States and Iran have reached a deal to win the freedom of five Iranian-Americans held in Tehran in exchange for several jailed Iranians and access to billions of dollars in Iranian oil revenue.
Jared Genser, the lawyer for one of the prisoners, said on August 10 that the five were transferred from Tehran’s Evin prison to house arrest.
Genser said the Americans released from prison included Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, who had all been sentenced to 10 years in prison on unsubstantiated charges of spying.
The identities of the two others were not disclosed, but a report by Tehran Shargh newspaper named Shahab Dalili as being in the list of those slated to be released under the agreement.
However, Delili's wife refutes this claim in an interview with IranWire.
Shahab Dalili, a retired shipping captain, was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence in March 2016, a year after immigrating to the United States.
At the time, he was a US Green Card holder and had not yet acquired American citizenship. His family obtained American citizenship while he was incarcerated.
His arrest took place as he was en route to the airport to catch a flight for the United States after spending a week in Iran to attend his father's funeral.
He was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of "disturbing security through communication with a hostile country."
"Shahab's accusation mirrors that of Mr. Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Sharghi. However, he was not transferred from prison to the hotel…and is not included among the prisoners set to be exchanged," Nahid Dalili said.
She quoted Shahab Dalili's sister, who resides in Iran and maintains contact with him, as saying that he remains incarcerated in Evin prison.
"We are certain that he was not moved to a hotel for the exchange, unlike other dual citizenship prisoners. As Shahab has mentioned, one of the undisclosed dual citizenship prisoners faces a different charge," she added.
"In the US, individuals with Green Cards are under the same rules as those with American citizenship. Conversely, Iran maintains that it does not recognize dual citizenship. This can explain why Shahab's name is excluded from this prisoner exchange agreement," Nahid Dalili said.
"The charge against him parallels those of the other three prisoners, and they were detained together in the same prison. I hope they will provide a reason for excluding my husband from this agreement," she said.
Nahid Dalili said she planned to visit the US State Department to protest.
The Dalili family publicly disclosed his imprisonment to the media six years after his arrest, but they had previously informed the State Department about his situation.
Nahid Dalili explained why she decided to talk about her husband last year: "Considering the ongoing negotiations and the potential for an agreement, along with constant reports about the four hostages — Baquer Namazi, Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Sharghi — being held in prison under the same charges and sentences as Shahab, I felt compelled to break my silence and raise my voice.”
"I have been in contact with the US State Department for approximately four years, and I have consistently given them Shahab's name, a prisoner facing charges related to the US. While they have expressed sympathy and pledged to cooperate, it is disheartening to witness Shahab's omission while the release of the four other hostages imprisoned in Iran continue to be discussed.”
"Through the media, I aim to amplify my message. If an agreement is reached and the hostages are freed, no one should be left behind. As citizens, we expect President Joe Biden's administration and the Iranian negotiating team to ensure that Shahab returns home."