By Parisa Hafezi and Arshad Mohammed
DUBAI (Reuters) – Baquer Namazi, an 85-year-old Iranian-American who was jailed in Iran on espionage charges the United States has said is unfounded, is now in Abu Dhabi and will soon receive medical treatment from emergency, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Wednesday.
Namazi, detained since 2016, traveled to Abu Dhabi after leaving Iran for Muscat, Blinken said in a statement.
“He has been reunited with his family and will soon receive the medical attention he urgently needs,” Blinken said. “We look forward to his full recovery and to welcoming him to the United States.”
An Omani government office announced on Twitter on Wednesday that Namazi had arrived in Muscat after Iran cleared him to leave for medical treatment.
Namazi’s departure from Iran was first reported by Iranian state media, publishing a video showing him boarding a private plane accompanied by a man in Omani national dress, but he did not didn’t say where he was going.
The video showed him struggling to climb the stairs to board the plane, which featured the light blue insignia of the Royal Air Force of Oman.
An attorney for the Namazi family, Jared Genser, said in a statement that Namazi “will undergo a carotid endarterectomy at the Cleveland Clinic (in Abu Dhabi) to clear a severe blockage in his left internal carotid artery (ICA), which puts him at very high risk of stroke.”
Namazi, a former official with the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, holds American and Iranian nationality and was one of four Iranian-Americans, including his son Siamak, detained in Iran in recent years or banned to leave the country.
Namazi was convicted in 2016 of “collaborating with a hostile government” and jailed for 10 years. Iranian authorities released him on medical grounds in 2018 and closed his case in 2020, commuting his sentence to time served.
However, they had effectively banned him from leaving until Saturday, when the United Nations said he would be allowed to leave for medical treatment.
SON STILL UNABLE TO LEAVE
Her son Siamak, 51, also convicted of “collaborating with a hostile government” in 2016, was released from Evin prison in Tehran on Saturday on a renewable week off after nearly seven years in detention.
The US government has described the charges against the two as baseless.
In the statement released by the family’s lawyer, Babak Namazi, Baquer Namazi’s son, expressed his gratitude for his father’s departure from Iran but his sadness at his brother Siamak’s inability to leave the country. .
“While getting my father out of Iran is extremely important, today is also bittersweet. My brother Siamak as well as Americans Emad (Shargi) and Morad Tahbaz remain detained in Iran and our nightmare will not be over until all of our family (and) other Americans are reunited with their families,” he said.
Other US citizens detained in Iran are environmentalist Tahbaz, 67, also a British national, and businessman Shargi, 58.
“Today is a good day for the Namazi family, but the job is far from done. We now need the United States and Iran to act quickly to reach an agreement that will finally bring back all American hostages. home,” said Genser, the family’s manager. lawyer, said, adding that Baquer Namazi would immediately go to the hospital upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi.
It was not immediately clear why Iran allowed Baquer Namazi to leave the country and Siamak Namazi to be released from prison.
Iranian-Americans, whose U.S. citizenship is not recognized by Tehran, are often pawns between the two nations, now at odds over whether to revive a frayed 2015 pact under which Iran limited its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran is also grappling with the biggest show of opposition to its religious authorities since 2019 with dozens killed in unrest across the country sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman. year.