Four Americans who have been wrongfully detained in Iran for years have been released from prison and are now under house arrest. Among them is Siamak Namazi, who was imprisoned in Tehran for more than seven years.
It was a sincere appeal heard all over the world. “I and the other hostages must be heard by President Biden so that he finally hears our cries for help and brings us home. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And this one is just like that. I’m very nervous,” Siamak Namazi, an American prisoner, said in March. Siamak Namazi was the longest-serving American prisoner in Iran. He was arrested in 2015 while on a business trip and later sentenced to 10 years in prison for “collaborating with an enemy state”.
Siamak Namazi, a dual national, has always denied the accusations, and Washington has accused Iran of wrongfully detaining him. It was a dramatic appeal that Namazi made to us from inside the prison. “The mere fact that I chose to take that risk and appear on CNN from Evin Prison should tell you how dire my situation has become at this point.” I spent months locked up. I spent months in a solitary cell the size of a closet, sleeping on the floor. I was fed like a stray dog. To be honest, that was the least of my troubles,” Namazi said in March.
Siamak’s father, Baquer, now 86, was lured to Iran in 2016 and arrested. He was imprisoned for two years and banned from leaving the country. He was finally allowed to leave the country in October 2022 for treatment abroad. He never stopped publicly campaigning for his son’s release. – I will never be truly free until Siamak is here beside me. I couldn’t be more proud of his bravery, but I don’t want him to be brave anymore. I want him to be safe. I want him to be free, to live the life he should have been living for the last seven years. I want him home,” Baquer Namazi said.
Among the other hostages released along with Namazi are businessman Emad Sharghii and Morad Tahbaz, who have been held for more than five years. They claim they have never done anything wrong and were only held for being American citizens who could be an ace up their sleeve in international negotiations. Before their release, their families tried to get support. “I know they’re desperate, and they’re scared, and they feel like they’ve been forgotten. The State Department, headed by the secretary of state, decided that they were detained by the Iranians only because they are Americans, says Neda Sharghi, sister of Emad Sharghi.
– My father is an amazing person. He is calm, kind, generous, noble. I think how my siblings and I were able to get through this surreal nightmare is just a testament to him and my mother. The way they raised us, says Tara Tahbaz, daughter of Morad Tahbaz. Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is an attorney for some families, put it bluntly. – It happened in Russia, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea. It’s a new pattern. The so-called hostage diplomacy that we need to start confronting, explains Richardson. Those few could finally be freed. But will they be the last American hostages taken by Tehran?
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Main photo source: CNN