Families of Iranian-American citizens currently jailed in Iran have called on the Biden administration to prioritize their release from the Islamic Republic.

Families of businessman Emad Sharghi, conservationist Morad Taahbaz, Siamak and Bagher Namazi as well as retired captain in Iran’s merchant navy Shahab Dalili — who is a permanent resident of the US — gathered in front of the White House on Wednesday.

Late in April, a number of US officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley, called on Tehran to release Sharghi and stop its policy of holding people as political pawns.

“For four years, the Shargi (Sharghi) family has waited anxiously for the Iranian government to release Emad”, Blinken said.

The 56-year-old businessman has been sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of espionage and collecting military intelligence but had attempted to flee while on bail awaiting the result of an appeal.

Morad Tahbaz, who also hold British citizenship, is also serving a ten-year sentence on espionage charges after arrest with other environmentalists in 2018.

Roxanne Tahbaz, his daughter, held a protest in April at Britain’s foreign office demanding action to free her father.

Foreign governments and human rights organizations have accused Iran of detaining foreigners and dual nationals on trumped up charges to use them for getting concessions from Western countries.

There are allegations that dual nationals are taken prisoner to swap them with Iranian prisoners held abroad, often serving sentences for violating US sanctions or on ‘terrorism’ charges.

In April, families of two German and two Austrian citizens currently jailed in Iran called on the governments in Berlin and Vienna to demand their release as part of nuclear talks with Tehran.

Source » iranintl