Jailed Iranian American starts hunger strike, appeals to Biden

Siamak Namazi was arrested in October 2015 and charged with attempting to overthrow the state, which he denies.

An Iranian American imprisoned in Iran has begun a seven-day hunger strike and has appealed to US President Joe Biden to bring him home.

Siamak Namazi made the plea in a letter to Biden Monday on the seventh anniversary of the release of five US citizens in a prisoner swap with Iran, choreographed to coincide with the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Namazi was arrested in October 2015 on charges of attempted state overthrow, allegations Namazi denies.

His father Baquer, who traveled to Iran in 2016 out of concern for his detained son, had also been arrested on espionage charges and released two years later, but was banned from travelling. He was finally allowed to leave Iran for medical treatment in October.

Namazi said in his letter that he would go on a seven-day hunger strike and ask Biden to spend one minute a day for the next week thinking about the suffering of American citizens being held in Iran.

They include environmental activist Morad Tahbaz, 67, who is also a British national, and businessman Emad Shargi, 58.

“When the Obama administration unscrupulously endangered me and released the other American citizens whom Iran held hostage on January 16, 2016, the United States government promised my family to bring me home safely within weeks,” Namazi said in the open letter from his lawyer. , Jared Genser.

“Another seven years and two presidents later, I am still locked up in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison.”

“My captors enjoy taunting me about that by saying things like, ‘How can your beloved America be so heartless? Not one but two US presidents released others, but left you behind!’” Namazi said.

When asked for comment, a White House National Security Council spokesman said the administration is committed to securing Namazi’s freedom.

“We are working tirelessly to bring him home, along with all US citizens who are unjustly detained in Iran,” the spokesman said. “Iran’s wrongful detention of US citizens for use as political leverage is outrageous.”

The Iranian government generally refuses to recognize dual citizenship and on Saturday announced the execution of a British citizen, Alireza Akbari, accused of spying for his adopted country.

Akbari was previously deputy defense minister in Iran and was accused by the Iranian government of involvement in the murder of a nuclear scientist.


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