Thursday, September 21, 2023

A look at known Iranian-Americans held by Iran as the US seeks a prisoner release deal.

Iran has transferred five Iranian-Americans from prison to house arrest, part of a possible deal over billions of dollars of Iranian assets frozen in South Korea.

Three of the five prisoners have been previously identified while two others have not been named publicly. Those identified include:

Siamak Namazi, an energy executive, was arrested in 2015. He had been an advocate of closer ties between Iran and the West.

Iran sentenced both Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, to 10 years in the country’s notorious Evin Prison on what the U.S. and U.N. say are trumped-up spying charges.

Baquer was placed under house arrest for medical reasons in 2018 but prevented from leaving Iran despite his family’s pleas that he travel to receive emergency heart surgery after suffering multiple hospitalizations. He ultimately left Iran in October 2022.

Siamak is the longest-held Iranian-American held in Tehran. He appealed to President Joe Biden in an essay in The New York Times in June 2022 as American and Iranian nuclear negotiators met for indirect talks in Doha, Qatar, demanding he intervene to “end this nightmare.”

The murky espionage charges against Iranian-American businessman Emad Sharghi came to light in early 2021, …