The Obama administration closed the nuclear deal without making the freeing of American citizens in Iran a prerequisite. The Trump administration then failed to push for the release of the Namazi father and son as hard as it did other Americans held by Iran, Babak Namazi said.
Family members and supporters of the two men said they welcomed statements by the Biden administration so far, including a telephone call that Secretary of State Antony Blinken made to families of detained American citizens. Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, called Iran’s continued detention of American citizens a “humanitarian catastrophe” on a news show this Sunday.
“We will not accept a long-term proposition where they continue to hold Americans in an unjust and unlawful manner," Sullivan told CBS News' “Face the Nation.”
At least four dual-citizenship Americans are believed held by Iran.
“My family expects that President Biden and his administration will not make concessions or deals with Iran” absent a requirement that Iran free the father and son, Babak Namazi told reporters.
Asked about U.S. efforts to free the men, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday that “we have channels to communicate with the Iranians about the unjust, unlawful detention of American citizens in Iran and we are using them. I wouldn’t want to go beyond that, however.”
The family also disclosed that Iran had commuted the sentence of the elder Namazi last year and said officials indicated then that he was free to leave the country. The 84-year-old found that Iran's Revolutionary Guard had unexpectedly placed a new block on his travel out of Iran, however, Babak Namazi said.
Baquer Namazi has urgent medical conditions that need treatment, including a vein to his brain that is almost entirely blocked and requires a stent, his son said.
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.