Court says Siamak Namazi and his father conspired with America.
Iranian news agencies have reported that a court has sentenced two U.S. citizens to 10 years in prison for cooperating with the United States. Reuters reported:
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American businessman in his mid-40s, in October 2015, while he was visiting family in Tehran. The IRGC arrested his father, Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF official in his early 80s, in February.
“Siamak Namazi and Mohammad Baquer Namazi have each been sentenced to 10 years prison … for cooperating with the hostile government of America,” Mizan website said, citing “an informed source”.
The media identified two other defendants as F.H.A and A.A. But the court also sentenced Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese man, but is not an Iranian citizen. He does hold a green card, which grants “him residence in the United States.”
Babk Namazi, son and brother of Baquer and Siamak, released this statement:
Statement from Babak Namazi, son/brother of Baquer and Siamak Namazi: "My father has been handed practically a death sentence…" pic.twitter.com/KGhyEV8BE1
— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) October 18, 2016
The Associated Press reported that the Namazi family left Iran in 1979 after the revolution, “but appears to have kept business ties in Iran, and the younger Namazi traveled back several times.” He often tried to persuade other Iranian-Americans to help ease tensions between the two countries:
He also wrote several articles calling for improved ties between Iran and the U.S., and urging Iranian-Americans to act as a bridge between the rival governments.
Still, Siamak Namazi’s efforts raised suspicions among hard-liners in Iran. In May 2015, a hard-line Iranian website called Fardanews specifically pointed to him in a highly critical article, accusing him of being part of efforts to allow the West to infiltrate Iran.
Others with Western ties recently detained in Iran include Robin Shahini, an Iranian-American detained while visiting family who previously had made online comments criticizing Iran’s human rights record, and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman sentenced to five years in prison on allegations of planning the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government while traveling with her young daughter. Still missing is former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission.
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