Iran has granted jailed Iranian-American Siamak Namazi a leave of absence for the first time in seven years and lifted a travel ban on his elderly father, the UN secretary-general and the family’s lawyer said on Saturday.
Iranian authorities gave Namazi a one-week renewable furlough and he was reunited with his parents in Tehran, his attorney Jared Genser told NBC News.
“While these are critical first steps, we will not rest until all Namazi are able to return to the United States and their long nightmare has finally come to an end,” Genser said in a statement.
Siamak Namazi, a businessman who was 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 impressed and he was later released on medical leave but remains under a travel ban.
The UN, the US government and human rights groups say the espionage charges against the pair are baseless and that their detention is a violation of international law. Three other Americans are detained in Iran, as well as at least one legal permanent resident.
“The secretary-general appreciates 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,” said a spokesman for the secretary-general of the Islamic Republic of Iran. UN, António Guterres, in a statement. statements.
“The secretary general is also pleased to learn that Baquer Namazi’s son, Siamak Namazi, has been released,” the spokesman added.
The move came as negotiations to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran stalled, according to US and European 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 He recently issued an emotional appeal through his attorney, saying the administration needed to do more to bring him and other Americans home.
“Betting the fate of the American hostages in Iran on the success of the nuclear talks is reckless and cruel. We must be released first, and now!” Namazi said in tweets posted by his lawyer..
Iran’s UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.