- Siamak Namazi imprisoned in Iran for seven years on spying charges.
- Govt committed to freeing Namazi: White House spokesperson.
- Iran's detention of US citizens for leverage is outrageous: Spokesperson.
An Iranian American imprisoned in Iran for more than seven years on spying charges that the United States rejects as baseless appealed to US President Joe Biden on Monday to bring him home and said he was starting a seven-day hunger strike.
Siamak Namazi made the plea in a letter to Biden seven years to the day that Iran released five other US citizens in a prisoner exchange choreographed to coincide with the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“When the Obama Administration unconscionably left me in peril and freed the other American citizens Iran held hostage on January 16, 2016, the US Government promised my family to have me safely home within weeks,” Namazi, 51, said in the letter to Biden released by his lawyer, Jared Genser.
“Yet seven years and two presidents later, I remain caged in Tehran's notorious Evin prison,” he added.
Namazi asked Biden to spend one minute a day for the next week thinking about the suffering of US citizens detained in Iran, who include environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 67, who also has British nationality, and businessman Emad Shargi, 58.
Namazi, whose father was allowed to leave Iran in October for medical treatment after being detained on espionage-related charges rejected by Washington, said he would be on a hunger strike for the same seven days.
“All I want sir is one minute of your days' time for the next seven days devoted to thinking about the tribulations of the US hostages in Iran,” he added. “Just a single minute of your time for each year of my life that I lost in Evin prison after the US Government could have saved me but didn't.”
Asked for comment, a White House national security council spokesperson said the government was committed to securing Namazi's freedom.
“We are working tirelessly to bring him home along with all US citizens who are wrongfully detained in Iran,” the spokesperson said. “Iran's wrongful detention of US citizens for use as political leverage is outrageous.”
Iran executes UK-Iranian national
Iran reportedly executed British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari, the judiciary's Mizan news agency reported on Saturday, after sentencing the former Iranian deputy defence minister to death on charges of spying for Britain.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said late on Friday Iran must not follow through with the execution — a call echoed by the US State Department. Britain had described the death sentence as politically motivated and called for his release.
Mizan said in a Tweet early on Saturday the sentence had been carried out, without saying when.
“Alireza Akbari, who was sentenced to death on charges of corruption on earth and extensive action against the country’s internal and external security through espionage for the British government's intelligence service … was executed,” it said.
The report accused Akbari, arrested in 2019, of receiving 1,805,000 euros, 265,000 pounds, and $50,000 for spying.