During an unprecedented interview with CNN from inside Iran’s notorious Evin prison, the longest-serving American in Iran made an emotional plea to US President Joe Biden to put “freedom of innocent Americans above politics” and intensify your efforts to win their release.
“I continue to be deeply concerned that the White House doesn’t realize how dire our situation has become,” Siamak Namazi said in a telephone conversation with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
His voice cracking at times, Namazi added: “The mere fact that I have decided to take this risk and appear on CNN from Evin Prison should tell you how dire my situation has become at this point.”
Namazi, 51, was arrested in 2015 when he was on a business trip in Iran, in what the UN has described as an “arbitrary detention”. He was accused of having “relations with a hostile state”, in reference to the United States, since Namazi has dual Iranian and American citizenship.
The United States has accused Iran of taking Namazi and other foreigners imprisoned in Iran as “hostages.”
Addressing Biden directly, he said: “I implore you, sir, to put the lives and liberty of innocent Americans above all the politics involved and to do what is necessary to end this nightmare and bring us home.”
Namazi is one of three US citizens being held at Tehran’s Evin prison, known for its long record of human rights abuses and considered an emblem of Iran’s authoritarian regime.
The other two Iranian-Americans in Evin prison are Emad Sharghi, a businessman, and Morad Tahbaz, a 66-year-old environmentalist. Both were arrested for the first time in 2018.