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UN says detained Iranian-American was allowed to leave Iran


UN – An 85-year-old Iranian-American who previously worked for the United Nations’ children’s agency and was detained in Iran in 2016 has been allowed to leave the country for medical treatment abroad, The United Nations said on Saturday.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced Baquer Namazi’s departure and said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was grateful he could leave following the UN chief’s appeal to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

Dujarric said the secretary general is also pleased that Namazi’s son, Siamak Namazi, has been released from custody.

Namazi, a former UNICEF representative, was detained in 2016 when he traveled to Tehran to meet his son, a businessman arrested in Iran a few months earlier. Both Namazis were sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for what the United States and the United Nations say are cover-up espionage charges.

Baquer Namazi was granted a medical certificate in 2018 and his sentence was later commuted, but Iranian authorities did not allow him to leave the country. Last October, he underwent surgery in Iran to clear a blockage in a brain artery that his family and supporters describe as life-threatening.

Siamak Namazi remains imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

Dujarric said the UN “will continue to engage with Iranian authorities on a range of important issues, including the regional situation, sustainable development and the promotion and protection of human rights.”

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