The United States warned the Iranian government that it holds Iran “fully accountable” for the well-being of detained U.S. citizen Baquer Namazi.
Mr. Namazi, who is 81 years old, was recently returned to Evin prison after a brief furlough. He has been hospitalized four times over the past year for problems relating to his heart.
“We understand the decision to return Mr. Namazi to prison was made against the strong advice of his doctors and the Iranian regime’s own medical examiner,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders in a statement.
Baquer Namazi, a former official with UNICEF, was arrested in Iran in February 2016. He had travelled to Iran to visit his son Siamak, who had been detained by the authorities four months earlier. Both men were tried in secret proceedings, and in October 2016 were sentenced to ten years in prison for “espionage and collaboration with the American government.”
An attorney for the Namazi family, Jared Genser, said that returning the elder Namazi to prison “was tantamount to a death sentence.” Deliberate denial of necessary medical care in these circumstances raises serious concerns of human rights abuse.
In her statement, Press Secretary Sanders said that Baquer Namazi “remains in urgent need of sustained medical care, and the United States Government holds Iran fully accountable for his well-being.” She reiterated the Trump administration’s call for the “unconditional release of all unjustly detained and missing United States citizens in Iran,” including Baquer and Siamak Namaz, as well as graduate student Xiyue Wang and former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared from Iran’s Kish island in March 2007.