Lawyers urge Iran to let Iran-Americans undergo surgery abroad
WASHINGTON, Oct.4 (Reuters) – Lawyers for an 84-year-old Iranian-American who was once jailed by Iran and whose son is still in prison there, on Monday urged Tehran to let him leave the country for medical treatment , claiming he needed immediate surgery for an arterial blockage.
Baquer Namazi was convicted of “collaborating with a hostile government” in 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Iranian authorities released him on medical grounds in 2018 and closed his case last year, commuting his sentence to time served.
However, her son, Siamak Namazi, 49, remains in prison in Iran after being convicted of the same charge. The US government has called the charges against the two baseless.
Iran-Americans, whose US citizenship is not recognized by Tehran, are often pawns between the two nations, now at odds over whether to rekindle a frayed 2015 pact under which Iran has limited its agenda nuclear in exchange for easing sanctions.
In a letter to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, family lawyer Jared Genser said Elder Namazi needed immediate surgery for a 95-97% blockage in the ‘one of its internal carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain.
He quoted a doctor as saying he needed surgery within seven to 10 days and argued that it should be done outside of Iran both because recovery requires a stress-free environment and because Iranian hospitals are struggling with COVID-19.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Baquer Namazi needs immediate surgery, and the Iranian government should allow him to seek medical attention to save his life,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter.
Genser said Namazi has been subject to an effective international travel ban since his case was closed, arguing that this, along with his previous treatment by Iranian authorities, constitutes a violation of his “right to health” under the Covenant. international law relating to economic, social and cultural rights.
Genser asked the special rapporteur to investigate and urge Iran to let Baquer Namazi travel abroad for treatment. He also told a virtual press conference that he wanted US President Joe Biden to “personally commit” to allowing Namazi to travel.
“My father is dying,” another son, Babak Namazi, told Reuters by phone from Dubai.
“My father has already wasted such precious time,” he said at the virtual press conference, crying at times. “I beg Iran to let him spend the little time he has left with his family, including my brother Siamak.”
Reporting by Arshad Mohammed with additional reporting by Michelle Nichols Editing by Mark Heinrich
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