When Siamak Namazi traveled to Tehran in the summertime of 2015, Iran had simply signed a landmark nuclear deal and the federal government was encouraging expatriates to return residence and convey their experience and {dollars}.

So the 51-year-old Iranian American businessman flew from his residence in Dubai to go to his mother and father and attend a funeral in Iran.

However he was arrested and charged with “collaborating with a hostile authorities” — an allusion to the US — and finally turned the longest-held American citizen that Iran has acknowledged imprisoning. In January, he went on a starvation strike for seven days to convey consideration to his ordeal.

On Thursday Mr. Namazi, together with 4 different twin nationwide Iranian Individuals, turned a part of a prisoner swap deal between Iran and the U.S.

“I’ve been a hostage for seven and half years — that’s six occasions the period of the hostage disaster,” Mr. Namazi stated in an interview from jail in March with CNN, referring to the American embassy employees who have been taken hostage in Iran in the course of the 1979 revolution and held for 444 days. “We’ve been taken for one purpose and one purpose solely — and that’s as a result of we’re U.S. residents.”

In trade for releasing the Individuals, the U.S. agreed to launch 5 Iranians jailed for violating sanctions towards Iran, and to launch about $6 billion of Iran’s frozen property being held in South Korea. The cash can be transferred to a checking account in Qatar and might solely be utilized by Iran for humanitarian functions, akin to paying for medication and medical tools.

The ordeal for the Individuals being held in Iran is hardly over. Iran’s international ministry stated the 5 can be allowed to board a airplane out of Iran solely when the cash lands within the Qatari checking account. For now, they’ve been launched from jail and stay underneath home arrest at a Tehran lodge.

The opposite American prisoners embrace Emad Sharghi, 58, a businessman sentenced in 2020 to 10 years in jail on spying expenses; and Morad Tahbaz, 68, a British-born businessman and wildlife conservationist who was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 10 years on expenses of “contacts with the U.S. authorities.”

The U.S. authorities has not named the opposite two prisoners, citing their households’ requests that they continue to be nameless. One is a businessman from California who was detained almost a yr in the past, and the opposite is a lady who labored for nongovernment organizations in Afghanistan and was arrested in 2023, in accordance with folks accustomed to the deal and Iranian media experiences.

Mr. Namazi grew up all world wide and has a grasp’s diploma from the London Enterprise Faculty. He comes from a well known household from town of Shiraz in central Iran, the place a serious hospital is known as after them. Mr. Namazi had traveled forwards and backwards to Iran and had lived in Tehran, working at a family-run consulting firm.

He turned an knowledgeable on Iran’s economic system, markets and inevitably the politics that overshadow all sectors in Iran. He studied the influence of sanctions on Iran’s economic system and was acknowledged by the World Financial Discussion board as certainly one of its Younger International Leaders.

“It’s a tragedy for somebody as gifted as Siamak to waste away in jail for eight years, a few of the best years of his life,” stated Ahmad Kiarostami, a detailed pal of Mr. Namazi’s. “He’s a fighter. Even in jail he needed to remain on prime of worldwide information and browse as many books as he may.”

His father, Baquer Namazi, 87, was the governor of Khuzestan Province earlier than the nation’s 1979 revolution and went on to work for UNICEF in senior roles world wide. In 2016, a yr after the junior Mr. Namazi was arrested, Iranian authorities lured his father again to Tehran from Dubai with a promise that he may see his son. The senior Mr. Namazi was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail on the identical expenses as his son.

Due to his failing well being, the senior Mr. Namazi was allowed to depart Iran in October 2022 to affix his household in Dubai and to bear medical therapy for blocked arteries in his mind.

Mr. Tahbaz, a rich businessman who had lived in Connecticut and was a recognized amongst mates for his large recreation hunts, found on his journeys to Iran that the nation’s Asiatic cheetahs have been at risk of extinction. So he determined to behave.

In 2018, he co-founded the Persian Wildlife Heritage Basis, a nonprofit devoted to the safety of endangered animals in Iran. In 2018, he and eight different staff of the group have been arrested on spying expenses.

Mr. Tahbaz suffered from prostate most cancers throughout detention and caught Covid-19 thrice, his daughter Tara stated in an April interview with Reuters. His sister advised the BBC that he had misplaced 88 kilos in detention. Mr. Tahbaz has three youngsters. His spouse, Vida, 64, was in Iran when he was detained and has since been banned from leaving the nation.

“Morad has all the time been a person devoted to his household, group, wildlife and Iran,” stated Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh, a plastic surgeon in New York and pal of Mr. Tahbaz. “He spent his life attempting to avoid wasting the critically endangered species.”

Mr. Sharghi, 58, relocated to Tehran on a whim along with his spouse in 2017 after their two daughters left for school within the U.S. The couple had vacationed all through the nation and loved reconnecting with relations and Iranian tradition.

A companion at an organization in Abu Dhabi leasing and promoting non-public airplanes, Mr. Sharghi had explored enterprise alternatives with Iranian start-ups.

In an interview with The New York Instances in 2021, his spouse, Bahareh Amidi, a poet, described her husband as an angel who was trapped in a jail cell with out his wings. She stated he was “the kindest gentlest companion, essentially the most current father.”

In 2018 safety forces raided the couple’s residence and arrested Mr. Sharghi. After an eight-month detention he was launched from jail and later exonerated of all expenses. However the authorities had held onto his passport, and when he tried to flee the nation in 2020 via a land border they arrested him and sentenced him to 10 years in jail.

The ordeal for the American prisoners and their households is predicted to finish by September with their deliberate departure from Iran. However recovering from the trauma could take longer.

“The ache our household has gone via over the previous three years is indescribable,” Ariana and Hannah Sharghi, Mr. Sharghi’s daughters, wrote in a 2021 essay in The Washington Publish. The cherry blossom tree of their again yard had bloomed and withered once more, they stated, with out him current.


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