Detained Iranian-American citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran

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Baquer Namazi, an 85-year-old Iranian American who was jailed in Iran on spying charges that the US called baseless, is en route to Oman on Wednesday after Iranian authorities allowed him to leave for medical treatment, his lawyer said.

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“Baquer Namazi, 85-years-old, is on his way to Muscat, Oman, after more than 6.5 years of illegal detention in Iran,” Jared Genser, a lawyer for the Namazi family, said in a statement, referring to the time Namazi was jailed as well as when he was out of prison but effectively barred from leaving Iran.

“After a brief transit, he will travel on to Abu Dhabi and then undergo a carotid endarterectomy at the Cleveland Clinic (there) to clear out a severe blockage to his left internal carotid artery (ICA), which puts him at very high risk for a stroke,” Genser added.

Earlier, Iran’s official news agency said Namazi had left the country, publishing a video showing him boarding a private plane accompanied by a man in Omani national dress, but it did not say where he was headed.

The video showed him struggling to climb the stairs to board the plane, on which the light blue insignia of the Royal Air Force of Oman could be seen.

Namazi, a former official with the UN children’s agency UNICEF, holds US and Iranian citizenship and was one of four Iranian Americans, including his son Siamak, detained in Iran in recent years or barred from leaving the country.

Namazi was convicted in 2016 of “collaboration with a hostile government” and jailed for 10 years. Iranian authorities released him on medical grounds in 2018 and closed his case in 2020, commuting his sentence to time served.

However, they had effectively barred him from leaving until Saturday, when the United Nations said he would be allowed to leave for medical treatment.

His son Siamak, 51, who was also convicted of “collaboration with a hostile government” in 2016, was released from Tehran’s Evin prison Saturday on a one-week, renewable furlough after nearly seven years in detention.

The US government has described the charges against both as baseless.

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