Baquer Namazi, first American jailed since January prisoner swap, held in Evin prison, wife says; son also jailed in Iran

Evin Prison in Iran. (CC BY-SA 2.0 Ehsan Iran/Wikipedia)
Evin Prison in Iran. (CC BY-SA 2.0 Ehsan Iran/Wikipedia)


WASHINGTON (AP) — Family and friends say a US citizen who is the father of a detained American in Iran has been arrested by Iranian authorities.

Baquer Namazi, whose son Siamak has been held since September, was arrested on Tuesday.

His wife wrote in a Facebook post that she was told he is now in Tehran’s Evin prison.

Haleh Esfandiari, a friend of the Namazis and a Mideast expert at the Wilson Center, said Namazi is more than 80 years old and a dual US-Iranian

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the US was aware of reports an American was detained in Iran. He wouldn’t comment further out of privacy considerations.

The arrest would mark the first of a US citizen since last month’s prisoner swap between the two countries.

Iran released four Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, only last month, in what was seen as a gesture of goodwill upon the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.

The others were Amir Hekmati and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, Washington said. A fifth American, identified as Matthew Trevitick, was also to be released as part of a different process.

In exchange Washington said it had granted clemency to seven Iranians, six of whom are dual US-Iranian citizens, and dropped charges against 14 more.

The seven Iranians freed by the US were Nader Modanlou, Baharam Mekanik, Khosrow Afghahi, Arash Ghahraman, Touraj Faridi, Nima Golestaneh, and Ali Sabounchi, according Iran’s judiciary and the state broadcaster.

Another American, Robert Levinson, 68, of Coral Springs, Florida, has been missing in Iran for close to nine years. CNN quoted Levinson’s family as expressing happiness for the families of other Americans released in the prisoner exchange, but said it was “devastated” that he was not among those released.

Iran says it does not know the whereabouts of Levinson, who is Jewish.

As reported by The Times of Israel