The US called on Tehran to immediately and safely release all US citizens who are wrongfully detained in Iran.
Speaking at a press briefing, State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter stressed that the “abhorrent act of unjust detentions” for political gain must cease immediately, whether in Iran or anywhere around the world.
Iran must also account for the fate of Robert Levinson, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, who is a UK citizen, said Porter.
“This weekend marks 2,000 days since Iran arrested Siamak Namazi for being a US citizen. Siamak Namazi was a businessman living in Tehran when he was arrested in October of 2015. When his father, 84-year-old Baquer Namazi, traveled to Iran to help free his son, the Iranian government arrested him too.”
Porter explained that Siamak and Baquer were arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison on baseless charges.
The Iranian government continues to treat the Namazi’s as political pawns, indicated Porter, warning that “this terrible milestone should offend all who believe in the rule of law.”
Also at a press conference, spokesman Ned Price addressed human rights violations in Iran, asserting that the American administration made it clear that there is no higher priority than the safe return of US citizens unjustly detained or missing in Iran.
In response to a question by Asharq Al-Awsat, Price confirmed that the administration will continue to make clear to the Iranians that this practice is unacceptable.
“Secretary Blinken, of course, issued a very strong message about the state taking of hostages, using people for political pawns. He condemned it.”
Price said Iran’s leaders have no misimpression about where “we stand on this issue. It is of paramount importance to us.”
Addressing the nuclear deal, Price stated that Washington is pursuing an agreement that provides verifiable and permanent limits on Iran’s nuclear program and will desist in all efforts to secure a safe return of US who are detained inside Iran.
The US administration had launched indirect talks with the Iranian regime, via Swiss mediation, to release US citizens detained in Iran.
Iran is accused of arresting US citizens and using them as hostages for political gain, as it is holding now more than five citizens with dual nationalities, including the businessman Emad Sharghi, who was convicted a few weeks before Biden took office on fabricated charges of espionage.
Former US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien concluded a deal to release US detainee, Xiyue Wang, who was studying the Persian language in Iran and was arrested in August 2016 on espionage.
The US administration and the family of FBI agent Robert Levinson believe he died in detention in Iran. He disappeared 10 years ago on Kish island.
Source » aawsat