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UN Officials Demand Release Of Iranian-Americans

Iranian-American consultant Siamak Namazi (R) is pictured with his father Baquer Namazi, undated

More than 160 current and former United Nations officials are calling on Iran to end the "horror and pain" for two Iranian-American dual nationals who are currently spending their fourth and fifth year in Tehran's Evin jail, respectively.

49-year-old Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi was arrested and imprisoned on October 13, 2015, on charges of "collaborating with the U.S. government." A year later, his 84-year-old father, Baqer Namazi, who had traveled to Iran to help secure his release, was also arrested. An Islamic Revolutionary Court has sentenced them each to ten years in jail.

Before the downfall of the pro-West monarch of Iran, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1979, Baquer was the governor of the oil-rich Khuzestan province in the southwest of the country, as well as a retired senior member of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Baquer has been on sick leave since last year due to his deteriorating physical condition, but is banned from leaving Iran.

Meanwhile, the Namazis' family said the arrests were a ploy by Iran to gain political leverage over the U.S. "After five years, you would think that one day you will wake up and think I'm used to this," said Siamak's brother, Babak. "It doesn't work like that. When people ask how you are, I will say: 'Worse than yesterday and better than tomorrow."