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5 Americans moved from Iranian prison to house arrest

Five Americans considered "unjustly detained" are no longer in an Iran prison, but they remain under house arrest, the White House said.
Posted at 2:04 PM, Aug 10, 2023

The U.S. National Security Council confirmed that five Americans who were "unjustly detained" by Iran have been placed on house arrest. 

The State Department said Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi, and two Americans who at this time wish to remain private, are no longer in prison. 

"We will continue to monitor their condition as closely as possible. Of course, we will not rest until they are all back home in the United States," said Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the National Security Council. "Until that time, negotiations for their eventual release remain ongoing and are delicate. We will, therefore, have little in the way of details to provide about the state of their house arrest or about our efforts to secure their freedom."

Shargi's sister Neda Shargi said in a statement she was aware of reports that her brother was transferred to house arrest. 

"My family has faith in the work that President Biden and government officials have undertaken to bring our families home and hope to receive that news soon. Until that point, I hope you can understand that we do not think it will be helpful to comment further," she said.

The group Bring Our Families Home has been prodding the Biden administration to work with Iran to secure the release of Namazi, Tahbaz and Shargi. 

"Our loved ones have been rotting in foreign prison for years, even decades, in horrific conditions including overcrowding, torture, and psychological abuse," the group told President Biden earlier on Thursday. "You can help ensure they spend the rest of their lives with us instead of held hostage."

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When asked in June about progress toward the release of American hostages in Iran, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said, "When it comes to Americans being wrongfully detained or held hostage, this is something that this administration takes very seriously. This is something that this administration has made a priority. As you know, there's been more than a dozen Americans who have been held hostage or wrongfully detained that we have been able to bring home over the last two years.  So, that shows you our dedication and our focus on this."

The group says that Namazi, a dual national of the U.S. and Iran, has been in custody since 2015 while on a trip to visit his parents. 

Tahbaz has been in Iranian custody since 2018 after reportedly working directly with the Iranian government to save endangered species in Iran. Bring Our Families home says he has a history of cancer and has suffered from complications while in prison. 

Shargi was arrested in April 2018 and reportedly convicted of espionage.