American wrongfully held in Iran for more than six years must undergo urgent surgery, his family says

Sep 7, 2022, 6:00 AM

An elderly American wrongfully held in Iran for more than six years must undergo urgent surgery "to...

An elderly American wrongfully held in Iran for more than six years must undergo urgent surgery "to clear life-threatening blockages in his left internal carotid artery," his family said Monday. (Courtesy Babak Namazi/ CNN)

(Courtesy Babak Namazi/ CNN)

(CNN) — An elderly American wrongfully held in Iran for more than six years must undergo urgent surgery “to clear life-threatening blockages in his left internal carotid artery,” his family said Monday.

Baquer Namazi, 85, and his son, Siamak Namazi are both considered wrongfully detained by the US State Department, and the elder is in need of the surgery “within weeks,” his family said. They are urging the Iranian government to release his Siamak on furlough to be with his father during and after the surgery.

According to a statement from Perseus Strategies, which represents the family, he already had health problems at that time, and has developed further medical issues during his six years detained. Although his sentence was commuted, he has been barred from leaving the country to seek medical care.

“The horrific prison conditions, denial of proper care, and overall trauma of the past six and a half years have been devastating for Baquer’s physical and mental health. He developed stress-induced, adult-onset epilepsy, as well as severe depression. He is often confused, becomes easily fatigued, and has difficulty moving around and maintaining his balance, which has resulted in several falls,” the statement said.

“His health troubles culminated in near total blockages in his right ICA last October, putting him at high risk of having a potentially fatal stroke,” it said. “Iranian authorities ignored international pleas to lift Baquer’s travel ban and forced him to undergo the necessary carotid endarterectomy in Iran, despite the heightened risk to his life posed by the stressful environment, poor aftercare, and rampant Covid-19 infections in the country.”

Baquer survived a surgery to treat blockages in his right ICA, but “new scans have revealed that severe blockages in his left ICA require Baquer to urgently undergo surgery again and Iranian authorities appear poised to subject him to the same unnecessary dangers as before.”

Babak called on the US government “to drastically increase its efforts to obtain my family’s freedom before it’s too late.”

“Time is not on our side,” he said.

Siamak was blocked from leaving Iran after visiting in July 2015 and underwent months of interrogations before being arrested in October 2015. Baquer was lured to Iran under the false premise that he would be able to see his son. He was instead immediately taken into custody at that time, in February 2016.

US efforts to free Baquer and Siamak, as well as two other wrongfully detained Americans — Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz — have failed to yield results. The State Department has said these conversations are being pursued separately from negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal, which have also yet to reach a breakthrough.

On Tuesday, State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel declined to comment on Baquer’s medical issues, citing privacy concerns, but said the US is “continuing to approach negotiations to secure the release of four wrongfully detained US citizens with the utmost urgency, and will continue to urge Iran to do the same.”

“Iran must allow Baquer and Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, and Morad Tahbaz to return home to their loved ones,” Patel said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


Afghan relatives offer prayers during a burial ceremony near the graves of victims who lost their l...

Niamh Kennedy and Radina Gigova, CNN

At least 300 people killed by flash floods in Afghanistan

At least 300 people have died in flash flooding that has ravaged northern Afghanistan in recent days, the Word Food Programme said Sunday.

8 days ago

The Apple Store at Towson Town Center Mall in Maryland is pictured. Apple Store workers in Towson, ...

Jordan Valinsky, CNN

Apple Store workers in Maryland vote to authorize strike

Apple Store workers in Towson, Maryland made history by voting late May 11 in favor of authorizing a strike.

8 days ago

Smoke from wildfires blankets the city as a couple has a picnic in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, May...

Paradise Afshar and Sara Smart, CNN

Canadians evacuate due to wildfires as air quality deteriorates

Thousands across Canada were urged to evacuate from blazing wildfires on Saturday, and the smoke emanating from them could be another danger.

8 days ago

Salvage crew members work on the deck of the cargo ship Dali on Friday, May 10....

Nicole Grether and Gloria Pazmino, CNN

Crews could use explosives to demolish part of Baltimore’s Key Bridge

Crews are expected to execute a plan to use small explosives to break apart a massive chunk of the Baltimore bridge that collapsed.

9 days ago

The sun is rising with a flare over Korla, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, on May 10....

Brian Fung, CNN

Why tonight’s massive solar storm could disrupt communications and GPS systems

An unusual amount of solar activity due to a solar storm this week could disrupt some of the most important technologies society relies on.

11 days ago

A customer wipes sweat from their face as they work out on a treadmill inside a Planet Fitness Inc....

Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Planet Fitness will raise its $10 membership plan for the first time in 26 years

Planet Fitness will raise the price of its “classic” membership from $10 a month to $15 for new members beginning in the summer.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

American wrongfully held in Iran for more than six years must undergo urgent surgery, his family says