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Iran Rejects U.S. Interference Over Jailed Dual Nationals

Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi (right) and his father Baquer Namazi (file photo)

Iran says it won't accept any U.S. "interference" after Washington demanded the release of an Iranian-American businessman and his 80-year-old father.

Iranian officials announced on October 18 that Siamak and Baquer Namazi had been jailed for 10 years for "espionage and collaboration with the American government."

The State Department demanded their immediate release, and expressed concern over the health of the elder Namazi, a retired UNICEF official who also holds dual Iranian-American citizenship.

But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on October 19 that Iran gives “no importance to the statements and interference of American officials and their efforts to divide the ranks of the Iranian people.”

UNICEF has also appealed for the release of its former employee on "humanitarian grounds."

Family members say Siamak Namazi was detained as he arrived in Tehran in October 2015, while his father was detained in February this year.

In recent months, several dual nationals, including Iranian-Americans, have been detained in Iran in what appears to be a crackdown on warming ties with the West following last year’s nuclear agreement with world powers.

Based on reporting by AFP and IRNA