WASHINGTON – On July 12, 2016, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced bipartisan legislation calling for the immediate release of Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, who are U.S.- Iranian dual citizens currently detained in Iran.
Like the resolution (H.Res.808) introduced in the House of Representatives last week by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA/39), Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman Gerald Connolly (D-VA/11), the Senate resolution urges the government of Iran to release Siamak and Baquer Namazi immediately. It calls on President Obama, the allies of the United States, and the United Nations to raise the cases of Siamak and Baquer Namazi with officials of the Government of Iran at every opportunity.
Siamak Namazi, head of strategic planning at the Dubai based Crescent Petroleum, traveled to Iran to visit family in July 2015. He was soon denied exit from the country and interrogated for 3 months before being arrested in October 2015 without any charges. Many Iran experts see this arrest as a signal of a possible backlash on the part of regime hardliners against the recent nuclear agreement as well as the increase in foreign investment from the West in Iran.
Known for his passion for building bridges between Iran and the Western world, Siamak Namazi graduated from the London Business School and has earned degrees from Rutgers and Tufts Universities. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2007 and was a former Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.
Namazi’s 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, was imprisoned by Iranian security agents in February 2016 after traveling to Iran to secure his son’s release. Baquer Namazi is a recognized leader of humanitarian causes, especially poverty eradication, through his work with the United Nations.
The resolution also encourages the Obama Administration to utilize the appropriate measures against the government of Iran if Siamak and Baquer Namazi are not released, conveys sympathy to the Namazi family for their anguish, and expresses hope that their ordeal can be brought to an end in the near future.
PAAIA commends Sens. Booker and Hatch as well as Chairman Royce and Rep. Connolly for their efforts to bring important public attention to this case. We are working to garner support for their legislation and will continue to urge the United States government to make the repatriation of Siamak and Baquer Namazi a top priority. The resolutions are also being supported by National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
H.Res.808 was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 14, clearing its path to be considered for a vote by the entire House of Representatives.