White House Calls for Release of Sick U.S. Citizen in Iran

The Trump administration is “deeply concerned” that a U.S. citizen was returned to prison in Iran after a brief medical leave and wants him released immediately, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday, according to Politico. Sanders said the White House holds Iran “fully accountable” for Namazi’s well-being and called for his immediate and unconditional release.

“We understand the decision to return Namazi to prison was made against the strong advice of his doctors and the Iranian regime’s own medical examiner. Namazi, who is 81 years old, is serving a 10-year sentence on false charges. He has been hospitalized four times in the last year and continues to suffer from life-threatening heart problems. He remains in urgent need of sustained medical care, and the United States Government holds Iran fully accountable for his well-being,” Sanders said in her statement.

Baquer Namazi, an 81-year-old Iranian-American man who was sentenced to 10 years in prison on spying charges by foreign authorities, was sent back to Evin Prison after undergoing a medical examination, his family announced on Tuesday.

The White House called the charges against him “false” and urged authorities to release him given the status of his medical condition.

“The Trump administration again calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all unjustly detained and missing United States citizens in Iran, including Baquer Namazi, his son Siamak Namazi, Xiyue Wang and Robert Levinson,” Sanders stated.

Namazi was imprisoned in Iran in February 2016 while trying to press for the release of his son, Siamak Namazi, who was jailed during a visit to Iran in the fall of 2015. Baquer is a retired UNICEF official and Siamak is an Iranian-American businessman. Both were sentenced to 10 years in prison for “cooperating with the hostile American government.”

The Namazis are among several dual nationals held by Iran. Analysts believe Iran is holding them as bargaining chips for future negotiations with the West.

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