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The release of Iranian-American Namazi is not conditional on the unfreezing of assets, according to the United States.




An Iranian-American jailed in Iran for nearly seven years on widely discredited espionage charges was temporarily released on Saturday as Iran also lifted a travel ban on his ailing father, who had been imprisoned after traveling to the country to plead for the release of his son.

Siamak Namazi, 51, and Baquer Namazi, 85, are among a growing list of American and European nationals detained by Iran as political pawns, according to Western officials.

Tehran said on Saturday that after the Namazis were released, Washington would release $7 billion in Iranian assets held in South Korea due to US sanctions.

With the finalization of negotiations between Iran and the United States to release prisoners from both countries, $7 billion in resources blocked by Iran will be released, state news agency IRNA said on Sunday.

A US State Department spokesperson denied that any assets would be transferred as part of a deal. The spokesman, anonymous by State Department protocol, told the Washington Post that Washington was still working to secure the full release of Siamak Namazi, along with several other U.S. nationals imprisoned in Iran.

British charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, freed from Iran after nearly six years, arrives in UK

We remain committed and determined to secure the freedom of all Americans wrongfully detained in Iran and elsewhere, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement Saturday.

Price also thanked American allies and partners who have worked tirelessly to help the Namazis, including the UN secretary general, Switzerland, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the United Kingdom.

Iranian media reported on Saturday that an unnamed regional country helped facilitate the deal.

An informed source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told the Post that Iraq had a key role in mediating between Iran and its American and British counterparts.

Washington and Tehran severed diplomatic ties shortly after the 1979 revolution that brought Iran’s ruling clerics to power.

For Iranian exiles, the Mahsa Amini protests are a source of hope and pain

But the two countries recently engaged in now stalled indirect talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Washington left in 2018. Iran has billions in assets frozen in banks around the world due to sanctions Western. A return to the deal would include US sanctions relief needed to revive Iran’s shattered economy.

Reports from state-affiliated media in Iran highlighted that the release of the Namazis coincided with the lack of progress around the nuclear deal.

Young Namazi, a businessman, was arrested in 2015 while visiting Iran and held in the notorious Evin prison. An Iranian court found him guilty in 2016 of espionage charges, which he denied.

Namazi’s leave is for one week, during which he will stay with his family, Jared Genser, the family’s lawyer, told Reuters. It is not known whether the leave will be extended.

The elder Namazi, a former UN official, traveled to Iran in 2016 to plead for the release of his son. He was later detained and convicted of collaborating with a hostile government. Authorities removed him from prison in 2018 due to health issues and closed his case in 2020, although he remained under a travel ban.

The Secretary-General is grateful that following his appeals to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, our former colleague Baquer Namazi has been allowed to leave Iran for treatment abroad, a doorman said on Saturday. -says UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres in a statement. .

This is a crucial first step, but of course we won’t rest until the whole family can return to the United States and their long nightmare is finally over, said Genser, the attorney for the family, to Reuters.

Former political prisoners have described being subjected to abuse, torture and forced confessions of offenses such as espionage, while incarcerated.

What’s behind the protests in Iran?

Iran has falsely accused foreign enemies of fomenting more than two weeks of nationwide anti-government protests sparked last month by the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, while in police custody . Authorities said on Friday they had arrested nine European nationals for their role in the protests in a move that could heighten tensions with the West.

US, European and UN officials have condemned the Iranian crackdown on protesters, which includes the use of live fire and the cutting off of internet access. At least 52 protesters have been killed and hundreds more injured and arrested, according to London-based Amnesty International.

ERICAS Venezuela releases 7 jailed Americans in exchange for Maduro family drug traffickers

The protests, which have drawn people from a cross-section of ethnic, geographic and class groups, are the biggest wave of unrest since a wave of protests in 2019 sparked by economic grievances.

In a separate case, Venezuela, another US adversary, said on Saturday it had freed seven Americans who had been detained for nearly five years. The detainees, including five oil company executives, were exchanged for two nephews of President Nicols Maduro’s wife imprisoned in the United States for drug trafficking.

John Hudson contributed reporting from Washington; Mustafa Salim contributed reporting from Baghdad.




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