Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Jailed American appeals to Biden in unprecedented interview from Iran’s most notorious prison | CNN


Iran’s longest-held American prisoner has made an emotional plea to US President Joe Biden to place the “liberty of harmless Individuals above politics” and ramp up efforts to safe his launch, in an unprecedented interview with CNN from inside Iran’s infamous Evin jail.

“I stay deeply apprehensive that the White Home simply doesn’t recognize how dire our state of affairs has change into,” stated Siamak Namazi, talking by cellphone with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

His voice often choking up, Namazi added, “the actual fact that I’ve chosen to take this danger and seem on CNN from Evin jail ought to inform you how dire my state of affairs has change into by this level.”

Amanpour Namazi Evin

American prisoner describes circumstances inside Iranian jail

Namazi, 51, was arrested in 2015, when he was on a enterprise journey to Iran, in what the UN has described as an “arbitrary detention.” He was charged with having “relations with a hostile state,” referring to the US, the place Namazi is a twin Iranian-US nationwide.

The US has accused Iran of taking Namazi and different imprisoned overseas nationals in Iran “hostage.”

Addressing Biden straight, he stated: “I implore you, sir, to place the lives and liberty of harmless Individuals above all of the politics concerned and to simply do what’s obligatory to finish this nightmare and convey us house.”

Namazi is one in every of three Americans detained in Tehran’s Evin jail, which is thought for its lengthy file of human rights abuses, and is seen as an emblem of authoritarian rule in Iran.

The 2 different American-Iranian prisoners in Evin jail are Emad Sharghi, a businessman, and Morad Tahbaz, a 66-year-old environmentalist. Each had been first arrested in 2018.

Iran's longest-held American prisoner, 51-year-old Siamak Namazi, has appealed to US President Joe Biden to secure his release.

Final June, The New York Occasions printed an opinion piece by Namazi blasting Biden’s bid to rescue US prisoners in Iran as having “failed spectacularly.” He held a seven-day starvation strike this January, and wrote an open letter to Biden calling on him to ship on a promise to carry them house.

Within the CNN interview on Thursday, Namazi accused the previous US administration of President Barack Obama of “abandoning” him in 2016 negotiations, when the administration secured the discharge of 4 different US prisoners held in Iran – together with the Washington Submit’s Jason Rezaian – after signing the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“Once I’m there in that closet-sized room, on their own, there was one factor I held as true, and that’s that the US authorities is preventing to launch me,” he instructed CNN, reflecting on the primary weeks of his detention.

He claimed that the previous Secretary of State John Kerry promised to free him inside “weeks.”

“I simply know I used to be deserted. I do know I used to be promised that the US authorities will launch me weeks later,” he stated. “I’m perpetually three weeks away from a freedom that’s completely elusive.”

Siamak Namazi

In unprecedented interview from Tehran jail, American prisoner speaks with CNN

A White Home spokesperson on Thursday condemned Iran’s imprisonment of US prisoners, saying it was inhumane and opposite to worldwide norms. The spokesperson stated the US was dedicated to securing the liberty of US residents wrongfully detained abroad, and was in common contact with Namazi’s household.

The Iranian authorities had not responded to CNN’s request for remark by the point of publication.

The US and different Western nations repeatedly accuse Tehran of holding twin nationals as political pawns in negotiations with the West. Final March, British-Iranian help employee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was launched after six years of detention in Iran. It got here because the UK settled a decades-old £400 million debt owed to Iran — Tehran has denied it was linked to the prisoner launch.

Hopes for the discharge of US-Iranian prisoners have floundered in latest months, as negotiations between Tehran and Washington over the revival of the nuclear deal — which former President Donald Trump pulled out of in 2018 — got here to a standstill.

Beneath the deal, Iran curbed its uranium enrichment program in alternate for sanctions reduction.

A view of the entrance of the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, Iran October 17, 2022.

Negotiating groups from Tehran and Washington haven’t convened for multilateral, oblique talks in practically a 12 months. A bloody regime crackdown on protests sparked by the loss of life of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini final 12 months additionally seems to have dealt the talks a crippling blow.

Final October, Namazi’s father Baquer Namazi, 85, was allowed to depart Iran on medical grounds, after the federal government lifted his years-long journey ban. Baquer Namazi is a former UNICEF official who suffers from a coronary heart situation. Each father and son had been charged with collaborating with the US authorities in 2015.

Siamak Namazi was given a 10-day furlough to see his father earlier than the 85-year-old returned to the US.

“They allowed him to depart, to hitch the remainder of our household and to obtain the care that he wanted for his life-threatening situation,” Siamak Namazi instructed CNN. “I can solely hope that they summon that very same spirit of humanity to do what is required on their half, in order that the remainder of us — Morad, Emad and I — may also be reunited with our households, and to start out placing this darkish previous behind us.”

Addressing Biden straight, he stated: “I implore you, sir, to place the lives and liberty of harmless Individuals above all of the politics concerned and to simply do what’s obligatory to finish this nightmare and convey us house.”

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