Iran has granted leave to imprisoned Iranian-American Siamak Namazi for the first time in seven years, and lifted a travel ban on his elderly father, the UN secretary-general and President said on Saturday. family lawyer.
Iranian authorities granted Namazi a week-long renewable leave and he was reunited with his parents in Tehran, his lawyer Jared Genser told NBC News.
“While these are critical first steps, we will be restless that the Namazis can all return to the United States and their long nightmare is finally over,” Genser said in a statement.
Siamak Namazi, a businessman arrested in 2015, is the longest serving Iranian-American prisoner in Iran. His father, Baquer Namazi, who worked for the United Nations before retiring, was also imprisoned and subsequently released on medical grounds, but remained under a travel ban.
The UN, US government and human rights groups say the espionage charges against them are baseless and that his detention is a violation of international law. Three other Americans are being held in Iran along with at least one lawful permanent resident.
“The Secretary-General is grateful that, following his appeals to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, our former colleague Baquer Namazi has been allowed to leave Iran for medical treatment abroad,” a porter said. word of UN Secretary General António Guterres. statement.
“The Secretary General is also pleased to learn that Baquer Namazi’s son, Siamak Namazi, has been released,” the spokesperson added.
The move comes as talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran have stalled, according to US and EU diplomats.
Families and advocates of Americans imprisoned in Iran have called on the Biden administration not to allow their loved ones to remain behind bars even if nuclear talks fail, urging the White House to negotiate to secure the Americans’ release.
Siamak Namazi recently issued an emotional plea through his lawyer, saying the administration must do more to bring him and other Americans home.
“To bet on the fate of the American hostages in Iran on the success of the nuclear talks is negligent and cruel. We must first be liberated, and now! Namazi said in tweets posted by his lawyer.
Iran’s UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.