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Iran Arrests 80-Year-Old Father of Imprisoned American Citizen

Eighty-year-old Baquer Namazi was arrested on Monday in Tehran and will be taken to the notorious Evin Prison, where his son Siamak Namazi is already being held without charges. Both Namazis hold dual American and Iranian citizenship.

The Jerusalem Post reports the younger Namazi was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in October while in Iran visiting his family.

The news of Baquer’s arrest comes from his wife Effie via her Facebook page, where she said Siamak had recently ended a hunger strike in prison. Reuters reported on Monday that Effie Namazi had asked Iranian officials to allow her and Baquer to visit their son in prison. Her husband’s arrest and incarceration in Evin certainly was not what she had in mind.

The same report notes that Siamak’s attorney also says he has not been given permission to meet with his client.

Reuters profiles Siamak Namazi as born in Iran and educated in the United States, as well as a recipient of “Young Global Leader” honors from the World Economic Forum in 2007. His most-recent employment was with Crescent Petroleum, based in the United Arab Emirates.

CNN describes Namazi’s father, Baquer, as a former UNICEF official. Iranian officials have not yet officially confirmed his arrest.

NBC News reports Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate panel hearing that he was aware of the Namazis’ plight, but “couldn’t comment due to privacy reasons.”

CNN cites suspicions that Iranian “hardliners” have been staging a theatrical crackdown on supposed American agents, sent to “infiltrate and penetrate” Iran after President Obama’s nuclear deal, to “demonstrate to President Rouhani and to Washington that a broader opening to the West would not be tolerated,” as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper put it.

Clapper also suspected that Iran wanted more hostages to use as “bargaining chips for U.S. concessions.” After a recent prisoner-swap deal, the younger Namazi was the only American prisoner left in their inventory.

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