NIAC Strongly Condemns Sentencing of Siamak and Baquer Namazi, Urges Their Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Trita Parsi
Phone: 202-386-6325
Email: tparsi@niacouncil.org

Washington, D.C. – NIAC President Trita Parsi released the following statement after Siamak and Baquer Namazi were reportedly sentenced to ten-year terms in prison:

“The sentencing of Siamak and Baquer Namazi to ten-year prison terms is a gross injustice that should deeply embarrass the Iranian government. We urge Iran to immediately release the Namazis – as well as all dual nationals unjustly detained in Iran on spurious charges – so that they can reunite with their families.

“Both Siamak and Baquer Namazi have been denied basic due process and all indications are that the Iranian government has been using them as political pawns in violation of its own laws and basic human decency. Siamak dedicated significant portions of life to helping the people of Iran. For instance, he conducted a study on how sanctions were fueling medical supply shortages in Iran. Baquer is a dedicated humanitarian who spent his career working for UNICEF, and now suffers from medical conditions that could worsen during imprisonment. His imprisonment appears solely intended as an effort to break Siamak’s refusal to confess to bogus charges.

“Similarly, the release of the video of Siamak’s arrest seem to be aimed at inflicting humiliation, but in reality only reveals the inhumanity of Siamak and Baquer’s captors.

“The sentencing of the Namazis follows a similar sentencing handed down last month to American resident Nazar Zikka. Simultaneously, hardline Iranian news sources also announced three other individuals – Farhad Abd Saleh, Kamran Qaderi and Alireza Omidvar – were also sentenced each to 10 years of jail under the same charge of allegedly “spying and cooperating with the US government against Iran”. The detention of several of these individuals was previously undisclosed. However, based on the Iranian government’s repeated violations of basic due process and use of dual nationals as bargaining chips, these convictions can only be viewed with severe skepticism.

“Like the charges levied against other dual nationals imprisoned by Iran’s internal security apparatus, the charges appear politically calculated. If the Iranian government wishes to see the country integrate in the global economy following the nuclear accord, it will have to take serious action to address the arrests of dual nationals and others innocent of wrong-doing conducted by hardline elements in Iran.

“For the United States, the sentencing is a clear signal that more political capital and attention needs to be dedicated to securing the release of the Namazis and other Americans imprisoned in Iran. The United States should leave no stone unturned in utilizing diplomatic channels to press the Iranians to secure their release.”

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