Baquer Namazi with his son Siamak
Related Story: U.S. legislators to call for release of Americans held by Iran
Iranian-American organizations NIAC Action and PAAIA have issued press releases in support of a resolution introduced in the U.S. Congress demanding that Iran release two imprisoned Iranian-Americans, father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi. No charges have been filed against either Siamak, held since October 2015, or his father, held since February 2016.
Press Release by NIAC Action, Washington, DC
NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi released the following statement welcoming the introduction of a resolution from Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) urging the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi:
“We are thankful to Representatives Royce and Connolly for leading this important bipartisan resolution urging the swift release of Iranian Americans Siamak and Baquer Namazi, and hope that Congress will swiftly pass the measure. The Iranian government should immediately release Siamak and Baquer and enable them to return home to their families. They are not guilty of any wrongdoing, have not been formally charged with any crime despite their months-long detention, and should not be imprisoned solely on the basis of paranoia or political agendas from hardliners in Iran.
“NIAC Action and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) supported the introduction of this resolution and hope that U.S. officials will double down in their efforts to secure the Namazis’ release.
“In addition to moving swiftly to release the Namazis, Iran should immediately release all political prisoners - including other dual nationals who have been targeted in recent weeks - and to follow through on its commitment to assist the U.S. in determining the whereabouts of Robert Levinson. We are hopeful that committed diplomacy can secure the release of the Namazis and encourage Iran to comply with its international human rights obligations.”
Press Release by Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Washington, DC
July 6, 2016, Washington, D.C.- Today, Congressman Ed Royce (R-39th/CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman Gerald Connolly (D-11th/VA) introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the Iranian government to immediately release Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, who are dual U.S.- Iranian citizens currently detained in Iran.
Siamak Namazi, head of strategic planning at the Dubai based Crescent Petroleum, traveled to Iran to visit family in July 2015. He was soon denied exit from the country and interrogated for 3 months before being arrested in October 2015 without any charges. Many Iran experts see this arrest as a signal of a possible backlash on the part of regime hardliners against the recent nuclear agreement as well as the increase in foreign investment from the West in Iran.
Known for his passion for building bridges between Iran and the Western world, Siamak Namazi graduated from the London Business School and has earned degrees from Rutgers and Tufts Universities. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2007 and was a former Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.
Namazi's 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, was imprisoned by Iranian security agents in February of 2016 after traveling to Iran in order to secure his son's release. Baquer Namazi is a recognized leader of humanitarian causes, especially poverty eradication, through his work with the United Nations and his post-retirement civil society activities.
The resolution urges the government of Iran to release Siamak and Baquer Namazi immediately as a humanitarian gesture. It calls on President Obama, the allies of the United States, and the United Nations to raise the cases of Siamak and Baquer Namazi with officials of the Government of Iran at every opportunity.
The resolution also encourages the Obama Administration to utilize the appropriate measures against the government of Iran if Siamak and Baquer Namazi are not released, conveys sympathy to the Namazi family for their anguish, and expresses hope that their ordeal can be brought to an end in the near future.
PAAIA commends Chairman Royce and Congressman Connolly for their efforts to bring important public attention to this case. We are working to garner support for the resolution and will continue to urge the United States government to make the repatriation of Siamak and Baquer Namazi a top priority. The resolution is also being supported by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
Take Action Now!: Urge your Representatives to support the resolution by signing on as a co-sponsor.
Siamak Namazi Is a Good Man. Iran Should Release Him - My friend, Iranian-American consultant Siamak Namazi, has been in Tehran's Evin prison for five months. His 80-year old father, Baquer Namazi - a former senior UNICEF official - was imprisoned three weeks ago. The motives behind these arrests have been lucidly explained, but news of detained Iranian Americans dies when there are no developments on the ground. -Reza Marashi, Huffington Post 03/17/16
UNICEF Expresses Worry About Health Of Staffer Jailed In Iran- The United Nations Children's Fund on March 3 expressed concern about the health of an elderly former staff member who was jailed in Iran last week. Baquer Namazi was arrested on February 22 and taken to Tehran's Evin Prison, where his son Siamak has been jailed since October. Both Namazis are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens. 03/5/16
After Prisoner Swap, Anxiety Over Jailed Iranian-American Businessman
Iran has eagerly opened its doors to foreign investment now that a nuclear deal has cleared the way. So why is Iran still holding prisoner an Iranian-American businessman? This is one of the contradictions of the moment in Iran, where economic sanctions were lifted weeks ago. -Steve Inskeep, NPR - 2/18/16
Friends fear for U.S. businessman in Iran
Nearly a month after a prisoner deal between Washington and Tehran, the friends and family of business consultant Siamak Namazi -- who holds degrees from Tufts and Rutgers universities and has ties to many Washington foreign policy insiders -- fear he has been forgotten in the warm afterglow of last month's swap and are pressing the Obama administration to step up efforts to free him. -Michael Crowley, Politico - 2/10/16
Siamak Namazi's Friends Thought He'd Be Freed From Iranian Prison, But The Media Had It Wrong
Initial news reports from the official Iranian media outlet Islamic Republic News Agency incorrectly identified Siamak Namazi as one of the four Americans who would be released this past Saturday as part of a prisoner release agreement between Iran and the U.S. By the time IRNA had acknowledged its mistake, several journalists with large Western followings had already tweeted about Namazi's impending release. - Jessica Schulberg, Huffington Post - 1/20/16
Daily Beast Didn't Know American Was Stuck In Iran When It Published Anonymous Story Attacking Him
On Sept. 15, The Daily Beast published an article by "Alex Shirazi" -- a fake name that the news outlet said was a pseudonym for a "a well-known Iranian dissident" -- describing Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi as part of "The Shady Family Behind America's Iran Lobby." -Huffington Post - 12/18/15
The Truth About Siamak Namazi, the Iranian-American Arrested in Iran
"It is only when a mosquito lands on your testicles that you realize there is always a way to solve problems without using violence." Siamak Namazi sent me an Internet meme with this quote only a few weeks ago. It was his clever way of responding to the heated discussions I was having on social media in his defense. The Daily Beast had just published an article attacking Siamak and his family, via a pseudonym, as Siamak was being interrogated in Iran. -Ahmad Kiarostami, Huffington Post - 11/28/15
Setting the Record Straight about Siamak Namazi
Over the past few days, disheartening news has emerged about the arrest of Siamak Namazi, a Dubai-based American-Iranian citizen whom the author knows very well. While the family has not confirmed the news, Siamak's friends believe that the situation may be the result of a misunderstanding which they hope will be resolved shortly. - 11/3/15
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