The White House received a letter from detained American Siamak Namazi held in Iran, who announced a seven-day hunger strike in a note addressed to President Joe Biden.

Namazi, 51, an Iranian American businessman, has been imprisoned since October 2015 and has endured prolonged periods of solitary confinement, denied access to medical treatment, and physical and psychological torture, according to a press release from his lawyer, Jared Genser, who also released the open letter.


“So we’ve received a letter and our thoughts are with Namazi and his family,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday. “We remain committed to securing his freedom, and the U.S. government is continuing to work to bring him home along with U.S. citizens who are wrongfully detained in Iran, including Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz.”

The letter coincided with the seven-year anniversary of a prisoner exchange which he was excluded from when the Iran nuclear deal went into effect. He was also excluded from subsequent swaps.

“All I want [President Biden], is one minute of your days’ time for the next seven days devoted to thinking about the tribulations of the U.S. hostages in Iran,” Namazi wrote. “Just a single minute of your time for each year of my life that I lost in Evin prison after the USG could have saved me but didn’t. That is all. Alas, given I am in this cage all I have to offer you in return is my additional suffering. Therefore, I will deny myself food for the same seven days, in the hope that by doing so you won’t deny me this small request.”

In addition to labeling himself as having the “unenviable title of the longest held Iranian American hostage in history,” Namazi wrote that his captors taunt him because the U.S. government has not secured his release yet.”My captors enjoy taunting me about that fact by saying things like: ‘How can your beloved America be so heartless? Not one but two U.S. presidents freed others but left you behind!’ Yet my frank reply deprives them of any satisfaction,” the letter continued. “I tell them while I remain highly indignant about the invidious distinction the U.S. Government can make among its citizens at risk, I never forget that it was not Obama or Trump who imprisoned me on made-up charges. That it is clear whose vile hostage diplomacy has blighted the lives of so many innocent men and women and their families.”

Namazi’s father, Baquer Namazi, was detained in 2016 when he tried to visit his son. Both were convicted on charges alleging they cooperated with a hostile government, a reference to the United States. Baquer was allowed to leave Iran last year to seek medical treatment.

Source » washingtonexaminer