By Arshad Mohammed and Parisa Hafezi
(Reuters) – Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American detained in Iran for nearly seven years on espionage-related charges dismissed as baseless by Washington, has been allowed out of Tehran’s Evin prison for a period of time. a week, his lawyer said Saturday.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said his father and former UN official Baquer Namazi, who was also convicted of “collaborating with a hostile government”, were allowed to leave Iran for medical treatment. economic.
It is unclear whether these moves could be a step toward the full release of Siamak, nor if it could signal the possibility of an outbreak or the release of other US citizens detained. in Iran or not.
Shortly after news of Siamak’s shooting broke, Iran’s Nournews newspaper reported that an unnamed country in the region had acted as an intermediary between Tehran and Washington for the “simultaneous release of prisoners”.
The semi-official news agency also reported that “billions of dollars of Iranian assets frozen because of US sanctions will soon be released.”
It’s not clear what prompted Tehran’s decision on both men. Neither the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran nor the Iranian mission to the United Nations immediately responded to requests for comment.
Iran is grappling with its biggest outcry against its clerical government since 2019 with dozens killed in unrest across the country due to the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who came to the country. from Iran Kurdistan, in police custody.
Baquer Namazi, 85, of Iran was found guilty of “collaborating with a hostile government” in 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Iranian authorities released him for medical reasons in 2018 and closed his case in 2020, reducing his term but barring him from leaving the country.
His son Siamak, 51, has been incarcerated at Evin prison since 2015 and was found guilty of the same crimes as his father in 2016. The US government has described the charges against both as baseless.
Lawyer Jared Genser, who represents the family, told Reuters: “I am delighted for the Namazi family as Siamak Namazi sleeps at home with his family for the first time in seven years” and is in a week’s time. regenerative.
“This is an important first step but of course we won’t rest until the whole family can return to the United States and their long nightmare is finally over,” Genser added.
Iranian-Americans, whose US citizenship is not recognized by Tehran, are often pawns between the two nations, and are currently debating whether to revive a contentious 2015 treaty under which Iran restricts its program. nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Karim Sadjadpour, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said that Namazis should never have been jailed.
“The Islamic Republic does not deserve recognition for temporarily releasing hostages who never deserved a day in prison,” Sadjadpour said.