The release on Monday of the Americans who were detained in Iran ends a years-long saga that included lengthy detentions in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, which is known for its long record of human rights abuses.
Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz and Siamak Namazi are among the five Americans whose release is part of a deal that included the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar and the release of five Iranians in US custody. Two additional Americans in the deal have not yet been publicly identified.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said the country does not recognize dual citizenship and that it “routinely harasses citizens and dual nationals with trumped up national security charges.”
Here’s what we know about them:
Emad Shargi is a businessman who was first arrested in 2018 while working for a technology investment company.
He spent eight months in jail and was released on bail but had a travel ban. In November 2020, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail by a Revolutionary Court for espionage charges.
Morad Tahbaz is an environmentalist who was also first arrested in 2018.
He is a US, UK and Iranian citizen who was arrested on allegations of espionage while on a trip to Iran. Prior to his arrest, both he and his wife had been blocked by an exit ban from leaving the country. In November 2019, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He co-founded the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation.
Tara Tahbaz, his daughter, told CNN that her father had cancer and had “gone through several medical conditions while he’s incarcerated,” including having Covid-19 three times.
Siamak Namazi was Iran’s longest-held Iranian-American prisoner. He had been detained since 2015.
He was the first US citizen reported to have been detained in Iran since the announcement of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. His father, Baquer, was also imprisoned in 2016 but was released in order to receive medical treatment in October 2022.
Namazi was arrested when he was on a business trip to Iran in what the UN has described as an “arbitrary detention.” The Dubai-based businessman was charged with having “relations with a hostile state,” referring to the US. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.