US State Department has once again called on Iran to immediately release three US citizens “wrongfully detained” without due process of law.
The American-Iranian dual nationals are Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz, and Siamak Namazi who were arrested at different times and convicted on trumped-up charges, and in effect held hostage.
Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson of US State Department told a news briefing on Friday that April 23rd, is another sad day for US citizen Emad Sharghi and his family because it marks five years since he was first arrested by the Iranian regime.
“That is five years unjustly separated from his loved ones; five years missing the opportunity to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Today, Emad remains wrongfully detained in Evin Prison on bogus charges after being tried in absentia with no access to the evidence himself.”
He went on to say that there is no higher priority for Washington than ensuring the release of American nationals wrongfully detained overseas, and the State Department is working relentlessly to make sure that US nationals detained in Iran are released.
“The unjust imprisonment and exploitation of US nationals as political leverage is outrageous, inhumane, and contrary to international norms,” added Patel.
Iran routinely arrests people with Western passports and uses them as hostages and bargaining chips, but Washington avoids the term 'hostage taking', calling it “unlawful detention.”
Emad Shargi is an Iranian-American businessman who was convicted of espionage without a transparent trial and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2020.
Morad Tahbaz, 66, is a British-US-Iranian triple national who was arrested in January 2018 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on “espionage” charges.
Siamak Namazi, is another dual-national businessman, who was arrested and imprisoned in October 2015 on charges of "collaborating with the US government".