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Trump Makes Threats Over Detained Americans

Trump Makes Threats Over Detained AmericansTrump Makes Threats Over Detained Americans

US President Donald Trump warned that Iran would face "new and serious consequences" unless all "unjustly" detained American citizens were released and returned, the White House claimed in a statement on Friday.

Trump urged Iran to return Robert Levinson, a former US law enforcement officer who reportedly disappeared over 10 years ago, and demanded that Tehran release Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer, Reuters reported. Iran says it is not aware of Levinson's whereabouts. The statement capped a week of rhetoric against Tehran. On Tuesday, Washington imposed new economic sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program and alleged that Tehran's "malign activities" in the Middle East undercut any "positive contributions" coming from the 2015 nuclear accord.

Those measures signaled that the Trump administration was seeking to put more pressure on Iran while keeping in place an agreement between Tehran and six world powers to curb its nuclear program in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.

Friday's statement said Trump and his administration were "redoubling efforts" to bring back all Americans "unjustly" detained abroad. An Iranian court sentenced 46-year-old Siamak Namazi and his 80-year-old father Baquer Namazi to 10 years in prison each on charges of spying and cooperating with the United States.

Iranian security forces detained Siamak in October 2015 while he was visiting family in Tehran. The father, a former Iranian provincial governor and former UNICEF official, was arrested in February last year.

Levinson, a former agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and for the Drug Enforcement Administration, disappeared in 2007 and the US government has a $5 million reward for information leading to his safe return.

  US Eyes Oman's Mediation

An Iranian court sentenced Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-born US citizen graduate student from Princeton University, to 10 years in jail on spying charges, Iran's judiciary spokesman said last Sunday.

"Iran is responsible for the care and wellbeing of every United States citizen in its custody," the White House said in the statement. Separately, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi on Friday.

Washington has in the past sought Oman's mediation to help secure the release of detained Americans abroad. Last year, American prisoners held captive by Yemen's Houthi fighters were released after Omani mediation. Oman also paid bail that ultimately helped in the release of three American hikers in 2010 and 2011.

 

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