February 8, 2016, Washington D.C.—Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), along with the Pars Equality Center, the National Iranian American Council, Iranian Alliances Across Borders, and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry advocating for the release of Iranian American Siamak Namazi who is currently in prison in Tehran.
According to media reports, Namazi was arrested in Iran in October of 2015 while visiting family and friends. The businessman works for the Crescent Petroleum Company as their Head of Strategic Planning as well as consults with companies seeking business opportunities in Iran.
On January 16, Iran freed four Iranian Americans that were being detained in the Islamic Republic during a prisoner swap with the United States. Namazi was not among the four released and still remains imprisoned in Iran.
“He was simply doing what he loved: building bridges between Iran and the Western world,” the letter reads. “There is no legal evidence to justify his detention, and he should be released immediately.”
Signees argue that Namazi’s detention is not only “unjust and without legal foundation,” but also counterproductive for Iran as it is in need of bridge-builders to connect the country with the international community after years of sanctions. They ask the Secretary of State to “work tirelessly” in pursuing Namazi’s release.
Namazi graduated from the London Business School and earned degrees from Rutgers and Tufts Universities. In 2007, he was named Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The love this influential man has for both Iran and the United States is common among hundreds of thousands of Iranian Americans.
As an organization that represents the interests of Iranian Americans, PAAIA seeks to protect Iranian Americans’ right to immunity from harassment and unlawful detention when traveling outside the United States, including in Iran. We call on the authorities in Iran to safeguard the rights, safety and security of all Iranian Americans traveling to or living in Iran, including Mr. Namazi.
Click here to read the letter.
Click here to read Politico’s coverage of the letter.