Baquer Namazi freed after six years in Iranian jail

Baquer Namazi, an 85-year-old Iranian American who was jailed in Iran on spying charges the United States called baseless, is now in Abu Dhabi and will soon receive urgent medical care, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

Namazi, who had been detained since 2016, travelled to Abu Dhabi after departing Iran for Muscat, Blinken said in a statement.

“He has been reunited with his family and will soon receive urgently needed medical treatment,” Blinken said. “We look forward to his full recovery and to welcoming him home to the United States.”

An Omani government office had announced on Twitter earlier on Wednesday Namazi’s arrival in Muscat after Iran allowed him to leave for medical treatment.

Namazi’s departure from Iran was first reported by Iranian state media, 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.

A lawyer for the Namazi family, Jared Genser, said in a statement that Namazi would “undergo a carotid endarterectomy at the Cleveland Clinic (in Abu Dhabi) to clear out a severe blockage to his left internal carotid artery (ICA), which puts him at very high risk for a stroke.”

Namazi, a former official with the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, holds U.S. 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.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Namazi family/via REUTERS