US asks Iran to ‘immediately release’ its citizens

PTI Feeds
US asks Iran to ‘immediately release’ its citizens

Washington, Apr 28 (PTI) The US has raised ‘serious concerns’ over its citizens who are either detained or missing in Iran, urging the Middle East country to ‘immediately release’ them so that they can reunite with their families.

The development comes on sidelines of April 25 meeting of the Joint Commission overseeing implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in Vienna, where the US delegation raised serious concerns with the Iranian side regarding the cases of US citizens “detained and missing in Iran”, said State Department Acting Spokesman Mark Toner.

“The US delegation had called on Iran to immediately release these US citizens so they can be reunited with their families,” he said.

According to reports, US citizen Siamak Namazi has been ‘unjustly’ detained in Iran since October 2015 and his 81- year-old father Baquer Namazi, also a US citizen, has been detained in Iran since February 2016, Toner said.

Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi are serving 10-year prison sentences in Iran.

Iran does not recognise dual nationality. Also, the Middle Eastern country rarely allows consular visits to dual nationals in its jails.

“The United States is deeply concerned about reports of their declining health and well-being in detention. The United States urges Iran to immediately release Siamak and Baquer on humanitarian grounds,” Toner said in a statement.

He also expressed concern over Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran 10 years ago while on an unauthorised CIA mission.

“It has also been more than a decade since Robert Levinson disappeared from Iran’s Kish Island. Iran is committed to cooperating with the United States in bringing Bob home and we call on Iran to fulfil this commitment.

“The United States remains unwavering in its efforts to return Bob to his family,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.