TEHRAN — An Iranian American businessman and his father have been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran, a state-run judicial news agency reported Tuesday, the latest dual nationals imprisoned since last year’s nuclear deal.
The announcement by the Mizan news agency came a day after it released footage of businessman Siamak Namazi. The video was a sign of the power still wielded by Iranian hard-liners opposed to the nuclear deal, which the moderate administration of President Hassan Rouhani negotiated with Western powers.
The Mizan report said Namazi and his 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF representative who once served as governor of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province under the U.S.-backed shah, were convicted of “cooperating with the hostile American government.” It did not elaborate.
A Namazi family statement posted online described the sentences as “beyond comprehension.”
“My father has been handed practically a death sentence and it will be a criminal act by me, his only able son, not to fight for my father’s life and freedom as well as that (of) my brother,” wrote another son, Babak Namazi.
The State Department said it was “deeply concerned” by reports of the sentencing.
The Mizan report said Nizar Zakka, a U.S. permanent resident from Lebanon, also received a 10-year prison sentence.
It said two others had been convicted as well, without naming them or identifying their nationalities.
Later Tuesday, the semiofficial Fars News Agency quoted Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying three Iranians were sentenced to 10 years in prison for “espionage and cooperating with the U.S. government.” He named them as Farhad Abdesaleh, Kamran Ghaderi and Alireza Omidvar, without elaborating. It was unclear whether they were among the two previously mentioned by Mizan.
The Namazi family fled after the 1979 Islamic revolution but appears to have kept business ties in Iran, and the younger Namazi traveled back several times. He also wrote several articles calling for improved ties between Iran and the United States and urging Iranian Americans to act as a bridge between the rival governments.
Still, Siamak Namazi’s efforts raised suspicions among hard-liners in Iran.
On Monday, Mizan released a video of the younger Namazi, the first images of him since his detention in October 2015.
It showed Namazi’s U.S. passport, his United Arab Emirates ID card and a clip of him in a conference room, his arms extended at his sides.
Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, meaning those detained cannot receive consular assistance.