Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

Iran sentences Iranian-American, his father each to 10 years

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian-American businessman and his father have been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran, a state-run judicial news agency reported Tuesday, the latest dual nationals imprisoned since the nuclear deal.

The announcement by the Mizan news agency came a day after it released footage of businessman Siamak Namazi, a sign of the power still wielded by hard-liners in the Islamic Republic.

The Mizan report said Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF representative who once served as governor of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province under the U.S.-backed shah, were convicted of "cooperating with the hostile American government." It did not elaborate.

Supporters of the Nazamis could not be immediately reached for comment. The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The report also said Nizar Zakka, a U.S. permanent resident from Lebanon, also received a 10-year prison sentence. His supporters had earlier told the Associated Press about the sentence, though the Mizan report was the first official Iranian report of it.

The report also said two others had been convicted as well, without naming them or identifying their nationalities.

Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, meaning those detained cannot receive consular assistance. In most cases, dual nationals have faced secret charges in closed-door hearings in Iran's Revolutionary Court, which handles cases involving alleged attempts to overthrow the government.

The Namazis were not released as part of a January deal that freed detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-Americans in exchange for pardons or charges being dropped against seven Iranians.

That deal also saw the U.S. make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran.

Analysts and family members of those detained in Iran have suggested Iran wants to negotiate another deal with the West to free those held. In September, Iran freed a retired Canadian-Iranian university professor amid negotiations to reopen embassies in the two nations.

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