Travel Ban on Iranian-American National Lifted on Humanitarian Grounds

Travel Ban on Iranian-American National Lifted on Humanitarian Grounds
Travel Ban on Iranian-American National Lifted on Humanitarian Grounds

Iran lifted the travel ban on an Iranian-American convict on Wednesday “on humanitarian grounds,” while giving a furlough to his son, also imprisoned in Tehran. 
“Due to requests made for his treatment abroad and for humanitarian reservations, the travel ban on Baqer Namazi was lifted and he can leave the country whenever he wants,” Kazem Gharibabadi, deputy for international affairs at the Iranian Judiciary said, ISNA reported. 
Along this line, a one-week furlough was also given to his son Siamak Namazi to meet his parents, he added. 
Gharibabadi expressed hope that Iranian convicts in the United States would also be released as soon as possible. 
Baquer Namazi, 85, was convicted in Iran of “collaboration with a hostile government” in 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. 
Iranian authorities released him on medical grounds in 2018 and closed his case in 2020, commuting his sentence to time served but effectively barring him from leaving the country.
“Due to medical issues, Baqer Namazi has been out of prison and in his own home in Tehran for nearly four years,” Gharibabadi said. 
His son Siamak, 51, has been held in Evin prison since 2015 and was convicted of the same charge as his father in 2016.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “We were deeply gratified to learn from the UN Secretary-General today that Iran has lifted the travel ban imposed on Baqer Namazi.”
The department was grateful that Siamak Namazi “has been granted a humanitarian furlough in order to be with his father,” he said in a press release.
Price thanked US allies and partners who worked to help the Namazis, including the UN Secretary-General, Switzerland, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and the United Kingdom.



Intensive Talks 

The recent move could be considered a goodwill gesture ahead of a broader prisoner swap deal. 
Such a deal could lead to the unfreezing of Iranian funds held at South Korean banks, a diplomat aware of the negotiations, said, according to Financial Times.
Qatar, the UN and Switzerland have been involved in the negotiations, the diplomat said.
Iranian Nour News also reported on Saturday that a regional country, which it did not name, had mediated between Iran and the US.
“In recent weeks, there have been intensive talks, with the mediation of one of the regional countries, about the simultaneous release of prisoners in Iran and the US.” 
Tehran has sought the release of over a dozen Iranians in the US, while Washington is trying to bring home Siamak Namazi and other American citizens detained in Iran.
Nour News also said that “billions of dollars of Iran’s frozen assets because of the US sanctions will be released soon.”
More than $7 billion of Iran’s income from oil shipments has been frozen in two South Korean banks due to US sanctions reimposed in 2018 after Washington’s exit from the 2015 nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The JCPOA had offered sanctions relief to Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program, but Tehran began rowing back on its commitments when the restrictions were reinstated by the US. 
Talks have been going on for more than a year to work out how both sides can resume compliance. 
While the negotiations on the release of prisoners are separate to the nuclear talks, US officials have suggested that it would be hard to envisage the administration of US President Joe Biden agreeing to rejoin the 2015 accord without movement on the prisoners.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints