An American Arrested in Iran

Siamak Namazi, a dual Iranian-U.S. citizen, was reportedly detained October 15 during a visit.

Iranian officials have reportedly arrested a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, multiple news organizations are reporting, citing family members and friends of Siamak Namazi.

Namazi, the head of strategic planning at the Dubai-based Crescent Petroleum, was visiting Tehran at the time of his arrest on October 15 from his family’s home by security agents. IranWire, a news organization run by Iranian expatriates, reports the agents “ransacked the house, confiscated property, and took the dual national to Evin Prison.” It quoted unnamed sources for its story on the arrest. The New York Times quoted “people close to him” for its report and The Washington Post cited “a family friend who did not want to be identified.”

Namazi, who is reportedly in his 40s, has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tufts University and a master’s in urban and regional planning from Rutgers University. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a former public policy scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., who advocates for closer relations between the U.S. and Iran. In 1998, he founded Future Alliance International, a consulting company focused on the risk of doing business with Iran, according to his bio on the Wilson Center’s website.

The Post adds:

Namazi, the son of a former governor in the oil-rich Iranian province of Khuzestan, comes from a prominent Iranian family. Namazi’s family came to the United States in 1983 when he was a boy, and he later returned to Iran after graduating from college to serve in the Iranian military. He has consulted on business opportunities in Iran for more than a decade.

Namazi’s arrest is the first by Iranian authorities of an American since the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S. He is the fourth American with dual citizenship ​currently being​ held by Iran. The others are Jason Rezian, the Post reporter who was arrested in July 2014 and convicted this month; Amir Hekmati,  the former Marine who was sentenced to death for espionage; and Saeed Abedini, a convert to Christianity who was detained in 2012 and sentenced to eight years in prison.

In addition, Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent, disappeared in Iran in 2007; Iranian officials say they have no idea where he is.

Iranian officials have not publicly commented on Namazi’s arrest. In a statement, the U.S. State Department said it is looking into the reports of his detention.