DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An 85-year-old Iranian-American held by Iran left the country Wednesday for Oman, officials said, after increasing international pressure to free him amid his struggles with poor health.
The state-run IRNA news agency published video of Baquer Namazi boarding a Royal Oman air force jet, apparently in Tehran. It said Namazi left the country Wednesday.
Jared Genser, a Washington-based lawyer representing the Namazi family, shared a photo of Namazi on the plane in a suit and tie.
“After a short layover, he will be leaving Oman and heading to Abu Dhabi,” Genser said.
In Abu Dhabi, Namazi will undergo a carotid endarterectomy at the local branch of the Cleveland Clinic to clear out a severe blockage to his left internal carotid artery, Genser said. That put Namazi at high risk of a stroke.
Tehran said late Tuesday that Oman had thanked the Iranian government for “delivering” Namazi to Muscat. Oman and the U.S. did not immediately acknowledge the flight.
Namazi, a former UNICEF official, was placed under house arrest for medical reasons in 2018 but prevented from leaving Iran despite his family’s pleas that he travel to receive emergency heart surgery after suffering multiple hospitalizations.
Last October, he underwent surgery in Iran to clear a blockage in an artery to the brain that his family and supporters described as life-threatening.
Namazi was arrested when he traveled to Tehran to visit his incarcerated son Siamak Namazi, a 50-year-old energy executive. Security forces had arrested the son, an advocate of closer ties between Iran and the West, months earlier while he visiting Iran on a business trip.
Both Namazis were sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran on what the U.S. and U.N. say were trumped-up spying charges.
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