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US, EU Should Seek Release of Dual-National Hostages in Tandem with Nuclear Talks

The situation of dual-nationals and foreign persons taken hostage and imprisoned by the Iranian government has not only remained unchanged, but in certain cases it has deteriorated, despite the new US administration’s approach to Iran and resumption of nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran in recent weeksc_250_150_16777215_00___images_banners_Dual-nationals-nuc-fa.jpg.

It is essential that the US and EU prioritize the release of these hostages, many of whom have been held in Iran’s prisons for years, in tandem with the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) urges the Biden administration and EU officials to vigorously pursue both bilateral and multilateral tracks to gain the release of dual-nationals and foreigners still held in Iran.

“The US and EU should form a united front to prioritize the cruel and unlawful imprisonment of the many dual and foreign nationals held in Iran,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of (CHRI).

“Failure to effectively address Iran’s hostage-taking green lights the practice and leaves other dual nationals at risk of being nabbed to be used as political pawns,” Ghaemi added.

There are currently at least 14 dual-nationals and one foreigner held in Iran, including:

Emad Shargi (Iranian-American businessman), Siamak Namazi (Iranian-American consultant), Baquer Namazi (Iranian-American civil society leader), Morad Tahbaz (Iranian-American environmentalist and businessman), Fariba Adelkhah (Iranian-French academic), Ahmedreza Djalili (Iranian-Swedish scientist), Nahid Taghavi (Iranian-German), Jamshid Sharmahd (Iranian-German political activist), Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff (Iranian-British), Anoosh Ashoori (Iranian-British businessman), Aras Amiri (Iranian-British), Mehran Raoof (Iranian-British activist), Massud Mossaheb (Iranian-Austrian businessman), Kamran Ghaderi (Iranian-Austrian businessman), Kamal Alavi (Iranian-Swiss businessman), and Benjamin Briere (French tourist).

The health of several of the above individuals has worsened in recent months, with some now facing catastrophic and permanent health ramifications, if not death. For example:

  • Nahid Taghavi, 66 years old, is suffering from Type 2 diabetics and her health situation is rapidly deteriorating according to her daughter. She is in danger of developing kidney failure, nerve damage, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Ahmadreza Djalili, sentenced to execution, is in a critical condition and near death after months of prolonged solitary confinement, according to UN experts. “Medical issues have prevented him from eating properly, resulting in dramatic weight loss. His situation is so difficult that he reportedly has trouble speaking. We are shocked and distressed by the cruel mistreatment of Mr. Djalali,” the experts said on March 18, 2021.
  • Mehran Raoof, 64 years old, has been kept in solitary confinement for much of his detention for the past six months and his health is rapidly deteriorating.
  • Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff, despite having completed her five-year sentence (during which time she suffered from serious medical and psychological deterioration), remains under house arrest in Tehran and separated from her young daughter, and is facing a new prosecution. She can move only within a 300-meter perimeter in her house and is being monitored with an ankle bracelet.
  • Fariba Adelkhah is under house arrest in Tehran and can move only within a 300-meter perimeter. She is also monitored with an ankle bracelet and is reportedly suffering serious psychological deterioration




29 Members of EU Parliament Urge Iran to Release Detained Journalists and Activists Ahead of 2017 Elections


Ahead of Iran’s elections on May 19 for president and local councils, 29 members of the European Parliament have written a letter to Federica Mogherini, the representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the European Commission, urging the EU to call on the Iranian government to stop the pre-election intimidation campaign against journalists and activists and ensure a free and fair vote.


Reformist Journalist Hengameh Shahidi on Hunger Strike after Arbitrary Arrest

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Hengameh Shahidi, a reformist member of the Etemad Melli Party and a former adviser to opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi has been on hunger strike since her arbitrary arrest on 9 March 2017.


Political Prisoners Prevented from Visiting Their Other Imprisoned Family Members


Some of the political prisoners of Rajaei Shahr prison whose wives or other family members are also imprisoned, because of obligatory prison uniform and appearing with handcuffs and shackles, refused to have prisoner visits


Christians, Including Pastor’s Son, Arrested at Picnic Near Tehran

 A Christian and four Christian converts were arrested on August 26, 2016 by the Intelligence Ministry 

c_250_150_16777215_00___images_iran_christen11-1.jpgnear Tehran, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned


Iran’s Intelligence Ministry Interferes in Case of Imprisoned Christian

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has directly interfered in the case of imprisoned Christian convertMaryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran—who has been on hunger strike to persuade the authorities to consider her for early c_250_150_16777215_00___images_maryam-naghash-zargaran-2.jpgrelease—in another example of the Judiciary’s lack of independence


Hunger-Striking Imprisoned Prominent Teachers’ Rights Activist in Poor Health

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Esmail Abdi, the imprisoned former leader of Iran’s largest teachers’ union, is suffering from a severe drop in blood pressure and vertigo after nearly two weeks on hunger strike in Evin Prison.

“If something happens to my client, I will hold the judiciary chief, the Supreme Court, the prosecutor general, the Tehran prosecutor, the head of the Prisons Organization, the Intelligence Ministry and all other security agencies responsible for his life,” Abdi’s lawyer, Amir Salar Davoudi, told CHRI on May 3.

An informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 11, 2017 that officials have not responded to Abdi’s demand for an end to the persecution of peaceful activists on false security charges.

In a letter announcing his hunger strike on April 30, Abdi, the former secretary general of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, said he would continue to refuse food “until my case is investigated in a normal way outside the security apparatus.”

“Amidst deafening calls from officials for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and civil liberties in the post-nuclear deal (2015) era, we are witnessing the arrest of board members of teachers’ guilds and independent workers’ organizations, who are put on trials that last a few minutes and condemned on the basis of identical charges such as ‘acting against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the state,’” he wrote.

“Under these circumstances, I announce my solidarity with all teachers and workers protesting the judiciary’s lack of independence in issuing security rulings against activists.”

Labor activism in Iran is seen as a national security offense; independent labor unions are not allowed to function, strikers are often fired and risk arrest, and labor leaders are consistently prosecuted under catchall national security charges and sentenced to long prison terms.

In November 2016, the former mathematics teacher began serving a six-year prison sentence for “propaganda against the state” and “collusion against national security.” The sentence was upheld in October 2016 by an Appeals Court in Tehran following pressure from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In an October 2016 interview with CHRI after the Appeals Court’s decision, Abdi said he believed the judge was influenced by several alleged violations added to the indictment by the IRGC’s Sarallah Headquarters.  

“On June 1 (2016) my lawyer and I appeared at Branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court. At the end of the trial, I asked for sentencing to be postponed so that I could have a chance to show that our activities were purely professional and not political in nature,” he said.

Security forces have detained Abdi four times between 2006 and 2009 for his peaceful activism. He was also issued a 10-year suspended prison sentence in 2011 by the Tehran Revolutionary Court for “propaganda against the state” and “revealing information about security matters.”

Several political and civil rights activists are currently suffering through different stages of their hunger strikes in Iranian prisons.

The prisoners include children’s rights activist Atena Daemi, political activist and journalist Hengameh Shahidi, and Kurdish political activist Zeinab Jalalian

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran




Unprecedented Ruling Lightens Jail Term for Imprisoned Baha’is

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Twenty four Iranian Baha’is who had been sentenced to heavy sentences ranging from 6 to 11 years for charges ranging from threatening national security to links to espionage, were acquitted from the charge that link them to enemy countries by the appeals court in Golestan Province 

The unprecedented ruling comes after numerous human rights groups and activists have repeatedly expressed concern over the unfair nature of the charge, the treatment of these individuals by the judiciary and alleged abuse by prison authorities

In the unprecedented decision the appeals court accepted the defence presented by the 24 accused Baha’is who stated that their contact with the Baha’i World Centre located in Haifa was for religious inquiries and not in any way related to the Israeli government which Islamic Republic regards as an enemy of Iran

Justice for Iran reports that the decision states: “In terms of links to enemy countries, it may have been that these individuals traveled to other countries in connection with promotion or administration of their group, however, the court has been provided with no evidence establishing espionage or harm to the Islamic government…therefore, the accused are all acquitted from the charge of links to enemy countries”

The ruling translate to a reduction ranging between two to five years in the sentences for each individual
Despite the ruling on links to enemy countries, the appeals court still found the detained Bahal’is guilty of threatening national security by discussing issues regarding their faith which the Islamic Republic does not regard as a “legitimate” religion

The court also ruled that responding to questions posed by Muslims regarding the Baha’i faith is propaganda against the Islamic system.

Meanwhile the proceedings against Tina Muhebati a Baha’i teenager who at the time of her arrest was under the age of majority and has been sentenced to nine years in jail in the preliminary hearings, are ongoing and the appeal court has yet to announce its decision in the matter of her case.

Ten human rights organizations had issued a joint letter addressed to the EU leaders urging their intervention in the case of the detained Baha’is in Iran to call on the Islamic Republic to probe into allegations of torture and mistreatment of these individuals in prison.

The 24 Baha’is were arrested ago for the charge of propagating their faith among Muslims across Golestan Province in the course of a campaign by the intelligence ministry four years. Reports indicate that the detainees were subjected to severe torture.

Earlier several of these prisoners had written to the former head of the provincial justice department, Gorgan Imam, Golestan governor as well as the provincial council to inform them of the abuse and torture they had suffered in the hands of prison authorities. The government has however ignored the allegations and no probe has been ordered to investigate these charges.

While Iran is the birth place of the Baha’i faith, Baha’is face widespread discrimination and persecution in Iran in all aspects of life as the government regards Baha’ism as membership in an outlawed organization.



Political Prisoner Held in Ward With Violent Offenders Injured in Knife Attack

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Political prisoner Amir Amirgholi suffered injuries on his face from a knife attack by two non-political prisoners in Evin Prison on November 16, 2016, his father told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Despite being imprisoned for his peaceful activism, Amirgholi has been illegally incarcerated in a ward with dangerous offenders


Iran’s Security Establishment is Targeting the Students of an Imprisoned Spiritual Leader

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Another student of imprisoned spiritual group leader Mohammad Ali Taheri has been arrested, this time in northern Iran. Vahid Pourtahmasb was arrested on August 19, 2016 by the Sarallah Headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards in the city of Babol, 128 miles north of Tehran, an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran


Arrested Iranian-American from San Diego Held Incommunicado and without Access to Lawyer

Iranian-American Robin (Reza) Shahini, the latest victim of a string of arrests and prolonged detainments of dual nationals who have travelled to Iran, was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization in the city of Gorgan, 255 miles east of Tehran, and has been held c_250_150_16777215_00___images_us10153882601599317_7087574562926800257_n-1.jpgwithout access to a lawyer, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned

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