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Iran Hardliners Sentence Iranian-Americans to Ten Years in Iranian Gulag
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Iran’s hardline judiciary this week sentenced Iranian-American, Siamak Namazi, to ten years in Evin prison. His 80 year-old father, Baquer, who was once the governor of Shiraz province under the Shah, received the same sentence.

Siamak was working for a Dubai energy company in 2015, when he made a visit to Iran to see his Iranian family. During his stay, he began receiving e mail inquiries from someone who called himself Alex Shirazi (not his real name). Shirazi said he was writing a profile of his family for the Daily Beast and sought information about his family’s business relationships and politics. From the tone and content, Namazi immediately worried that the article would be what it turned out to be, a hit piece.

Namazi then wrote to Shirazi’s editor, Michael Weiss, and said he was disturbed and concerned that the article, besides being false, might endanger him and his family. Weiss refused to intercede with Shirazi. The day Siamak tried to leave Iran, he was detained at the airport by Iranian authorities, who told him he was not permitted to exit the country. It’s evident that the Iranian intelligence services had easy access to this e-mail traffic between ‘Shirazi’ and Namazi.

In the next several weeks, the Daily Beast published the article, The Shady Family Behind America’s Iran Lobby. It permitted readers to believe that “Alex Shirazi” was a real person. Later, it published a disclosure that “Alex Shirazi” was a pseudonym, an especially damaging admission for a reputable publication. The article was even more slashing and unsubstantiated than Siamak had feared. Shortly after its publication, Iranian police came and arrested him. This cannot have been a coincidence either. Thus, the interests of neocon anti-Iran figures like Weiss and Shirazi and those of the hardline Iranian intelligence services aligned.

The Iranian-American was brought to Tehran’s dreaded Evin Prison and has remained there for the past two years. A few months after his arrest, when he apparently refused to cooperate with his interrogators, his father was also arrested.

Last August, I published an in-depth profile of Michael Weiss here, which detailed the tragic story of Siamak and his father. Before I published, I asked Weiss, “Alex Shirazi” and Daily Beast managing editor, John Avlon to answer a series of questions I sent to them. All chose not to respond.

In its reporting of Siamak’s jail sentence, the NY Times’ Thomas Erdbrink also acknowledged the role played by this scurrilous piece of gutter journalism (though naturally the Times used more judicious prose):

Around the time he was arrested in Iran in September 2015, an online news outlet in the United States, The Daily Beast, published a long article saying that Mr. Namazi and his family were a driving force behind the “Iran lobby” in the United States and that they stood to profit from the lifting of sanctions after the nuclear deal. The identity of the writer of the article was shielded with a pseudonym.

In preparing the Weiss profile, I consulted with and interviewed many Iranian-Americans on various matters. But I especially wanted to identify the real individual behind the “Alex Shirazi” pseudonym. A number of people told me who they thought he was. They all said they’d heard that when Shirazi was trolling for information about the Namazis, he accidentally used his real e mail address rather than the one for Shirazi. The real address belonged to Iranian political cartoonist and anti-regime dissident, Nikahang Kowsar. Iranians who received such messages told them this though they later refused to come forward when pressed, out of fear of Kowsar. When I wrote to Kowsar asking to confirm or deny this, he refused to respond.

Ironically, just after Siamak’s arrest, Kowsar posted a strange tweet blaming the NY Times for remaining silent about the incident. An exceedingly odd response from the very individual who was responsible for his imprisonment.

Earlier this week, the Iranian hardliners released an odd one-minute video showing Siamak. He did not say anything and there was no sound to the video other than music added subsequently in a studio. The hardliners like to air video confessions by their victims in which they admit their sins and beg forgiveness. It’s noteworthy that Siamak refused to choose this path.

The video was covered by the world media, which didn’t know what to make of it. But the other shoe fell on October 19th, when the Iranians announced that Siamak and his father were being sentenced to ten years in prison.

This follows of similar path with earlier U.S.-Iranian citizens who were arrested and tried in Iran. The hardliners, seeking to embarrass the moderate Rouhani regime, need victims to parade before the media as spies and traitors. They use these show trials to prove that foreigners like Namazi are in league with both the Rouhani government and western intelligence agencies to undermine the Islamic Revolution.

There’s a second purpose to these arrests and trials. The hardliners then use the victims as bait for prisoner exchanges with the U.S. This is what happened when five Iranian-Americans were traded for Iranian citizens imprisoned in the U.S. Among them were Jason Rezaian, the former Iran correspondent for the Washington Post, who recently announced a lawsuit against the Iranian government for his treatment at its hands.

The Daily Beast betrayed Siamak and is largely responsible for him losing the next ten years of his life. John Avlon, Michael Weiss and Nikahang Kowsar have a moral responsibility to face up to the role they played. At the very least, they could organize a public campaign on behalf of the Namazis and pressure the U.S. government to negotiate for their release.

But progressive media could’ve played a more assertive role as well. After Max Blumenthal commissioned my original Weiss profile for Alternet, publisher Jan Frel killed it. He feared attacks and possible lawsuits from Weiss, who has an vociferous group of acolytes. Many other publications rejected the piece as well including The Nation, Truthdig, the Columbia Journalism Review, London Review of Books, and The National Interest, among others.

It took a publisher with guts–someone willing to face intimidation—to publish that piece. I only wish there were more such publishers out there willing to go to bat for Siamak and Baquer Namazi.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Iran, Siamak Namazi 
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  1. Well done to The Unz Review for publishing the articles exposing (((Weiss))).

    “[Hardliners] use these show trials to prove that foreigners like Namazi are in league with both the Rouhani government and western intelligence agencies to undermine the Islamic Revolution.”

    >Implying the West isn’t using every means at its disposal to precipitate (((regime change))) in Iran.

  2. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    What about the ‘hardliners’ in the USA tossing people in prison for marijuana? A friend of mine got 10 years for growing a couple of plants.

    Iran is trying to protect itself from the relentless onslaught of US and Israel attacks against its people, nation and infrastructure by tossing spies in prison.

    What is the USA trying to protect itself against by tossing marijuana smokers in prison? Which nation is more free?

  3. Rehmat says:

    Hey Richard – how about 5,000 Palestinian children in the fascist Jewish Israel Gulag? The six dudes were tried in a court of law which is far better than US Supreme Court, controlled by six Zionist Catholics and three Zionist Jews, two being lesbians, or Israel courts which applies Jewish sharia (Halakah) against Palestinian Muslim and Christians.

    I’m glad finally American spies are punished for their crimes instead of shown Iranian mercy.

    2009 Iranian security arrested three American Jewish ‘hijackers’ illegally entering Iran. They were tried in a court of law for spying for CIA and Mossad – a claimed acknowledged by parents of one the accused. I remember Richard Silverstein condemned Ahmadinejad ‘conspiring’ to criminalize fellow members of his tribe.

    Danna Harman writing in Israeli daily Ha’aretz (July 30, 2010) even compared the three captured Jews as the ‘three Rachel Corries’. However, we all know Iranian have not crushed these three Jews under a bulldozer as the Israeli Jew did to American-Christian Rachel Alien Corrie 23.

    Ahmadinejad, later was criticized by Richard’s “hardliners” for pardoning the three Jew spies before serving their full sentences.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:


    Before making assertions on individuals, you should check out their history.
    In Silverstein’s case, a look at his piece on the legacy of Shimon Peres would have been enough.
    (Assuming you mean to make based statements instead of biased rants.)

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  5. Shouldn’t pal around with Mossad filth then, should you?

  6. There is no such thing as an “Iranian-American”. You can be one or the other and unless your ancestors were here in 1776, you can’t be an American. There is no such thing as “Magic Dirt”. If you or your parents or great grandparents are immigrants, you might have US citizenship, a mistake we should fix, but you are not an American and never will be.

    Rezaian, the Namazis, and the other prisoners are Iranians and should be subject to Iranian law.

  7. Rehmat says:

    Richard Silverstein is one of those whom Gilad Atzmon calls: ANTI-ZIONIST ZIONIST.

    I always judge other bloggers by their actions. A few years ago, Silverstein called me ‘antisemite’ and banned me from commenting on his blog for my comment that rabbi Wolf Gunther Plaut in his 1990 book, “The Man Who Would Be Messiah”, had admitted that Holocaust was committed by FRANKIST JEWS (Crypto Jews) who collaborated with Nazis.

    As for Shimon Peres is concerned – every political aware person knows he was a WAR CRIMINAL.

    • Replies: @Wally
  8. nsa says:

    Silverberg exposing the torts of Weissowitz? Why the silly jooie hit piece on Iran?

  9. I have a degree of sympathy for these so-called “Iranian-Americans”. It is tempered, however, by the fact that as “Americans” they have no business going back to their former country and stirring up trouble. Iran should mean no more to them than Ireland or India.

    There is a long and shameful history of American citizens of foreign birth or attachments involving our country in disputes because they can’t behave themselves and restrict their politics to their own country – the United States of America.

    As far as I am concerned, if any of these “Whatever-Americans” go fiddling around back in the old country, good riddance. Rot in a dungeon.

    American citizenship is not a license to engage in busybody, do-gooder or world-improver activity.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  10. Who is the target of Silverstein’s ire, Weiss or Iran?

    And if it’s Weiss, why does Silverstein use tabloid-style headlines that demonize Iran?

    If the basic message of the article is “Weiss is a sleazy journalist and his sleazy activities have resulted in the imprisonment of Iranian-Americans” why didn’t Silverstein head the article “Sleazebag Jew falsifies his identity in successful attempt to implicate Iranian-Americans?”

    Has Silverstein ever been to Evin Prison? In an earlier Unz article, Silverstein called Evin a “torture chamber,” and here he labels Evin a “gulag.”

    Compared to what?

    Compared to Guantanamo? or to any of the for-profit prisons that have proliferated in the USA under the influence and model of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as Jeff Halper details in this important interview:

    Richard, your writing on Unz causes this reader to suspect that your blog is flagging and you’re (desperately) seeking relevance, and you’re resorting to the lowest common denominator — vilification of Iran — to grab attention. You’ve put yourself in the category that Atzmon defined (as Rehmat noted), “anti-zionist-zionists,” another word for “gatekeeper.”

    Jeff Halper earned my respect.

    Choose, Richard: What do you want, respect based on honest reporting, or a following based on inflammatory headlines and distorted text?

    • Replies: @Sherman
  11. Rehmat says:
    @Chris Bridges

    But, but, but, darling ….. how about tens of thousands of American Jews who not only hold Israeli citizenship – but also work for Israel’s interests??

    Ever heard of Jonathan Pollard or Alan Gross, or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg …..

    Pollard, former Naval intelligence analyst, was convicted and sentenced for life in 1985 for working as Israeli spy for which he was paid $2,500/month and over $50,000 as out-of-pocket expense during his espionage career according to court records. But then he started showing his Shylock nature. He threatened his Israeli handler inside Israeli embassy in Washington, to pay an additional $250,000 for his treason against his motherland (USA), or he would sell some the US secret documents to Russia, Apartheid South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, and some Middle Eastern countries. That’s when someone blew whistle on Pollard…..

  12. There shouldn’t be such a creature as an Iranian-“American” in the first place. I don’t much care what happens to these people when they go to Iran. That’s where they should be anyway.

    And, as a commenter note with regard to the US “drug war”, the gang that rules us here (the us government) has deprived millions of nonviolent people of their liberty for marijuana “offenses.” Those people get beaten, terrorized, raped, lose their jobs, sometimes lose their homes, even lose their families, every single day still.

  13. @Rehmat

    Generslly, if a person insists on retaining a foreign country’s citizenship / passport, he should be barred from any federal government employment, most importantly barred from border security, military, intelligence, and jobs in and around nuke plants and critical infrastructure.

    Imagine the change in our government’s direction, philosophy, and policies if this rule were implemented and truly enforced. Thousands of Israeli/US, and now Chinese/US dual nationals would be screened out. Long overdue.

    • Replies: @JoaoAlfaiate
  14. Wally says: • Website

    No mention of the imprisonment of so many in Europe for the Thought Crime of speaking about & scrutinzing the impossible & laughable ‘6,000,000 Jews, 5,000,000 others, & gas chambers’.


    87 yr . old grandma included:

    Ursula Haverbeck Sentenced to 11 Months for speaking critically of the ‘holocau$t’

    ‘6,000,000 Jews’ nonsense & laughing Mexican

    “Alone the fact that one may not question the Jewish “holocaust” and that Jewish pressure has inflicted laws on democratic societies to prevent questions—while incessant promotion and indoctrination of the same averredly incontestable ‘holocaust’ occur—gives the game away. It proves that it must be a lie. Why else would one not be allowed to question it? Because it might offend the “survivors”? Because it “dishonors the dead”? Hardly sufficient reason to outlaw discussion. No, because the exposure of this leading lie might precipitate questions about so many other lies and cause the whole ramshackle fabrication to crumble.”

    – Gerard Menuhin / righteous Revisionist Jew, son of famous violinist

    “Truth is hate to those who hate the truth.”

    The ‘6M Jews, 5M others, & gas chambers’ are scientifically impossible frauds.
    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:
    No name calling, level playing field debate here:

    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
  15. Wally says: • Website


    Indeed, a la Noam Chomsky & Norman Finkelstein.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  16. @Wally

    Silverstein has no problem pasting inflammatory headlines that vilify Iran, but succumbs to the compulsion to employ the MORE function to shelter, shall we say, from bold view the video that Wally posted at #14 —

    (nails-on-chalkboard alert)

  17. Ben_C says:

    According to this “piece”, there is now some sort of ‘international conspiracy’ between the “neocons” and the “Iranian hardliners”?


    Did this author even see what the Iranians did to the innocent American sailors who were on an innocent fishing expedition in the Strait of Hormuz:

    Just sick…

  18. Rehmat says:

    American Jewish-controlled media (WSJ, NPR, WP, NYT, Daily Beast, etc.), and Jew bloggers are crying foul over recent jailing of five Iranian-born and one Lebanese American citizens. They were arrested last year while visiting Iran and tried in court of law for co-operating with US government involving anti-Iran activities.

    The court handed 10-year jail sentence each to Siamak Namazi, his father Baquer Namazi, Farhad Abdsaleh, Kamran Ghaderi, Alireza Omidvar, and Nizar Zakka.

    Baquer Namazi, 80, former governor of Shiraz province under pro-USrael King Reza Shah rule, is former UNICEF representative in Somalia, Egypt, and Kenya.

    According to the Iranian penal code, cooperating with foreign states against Iran’s people is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

    In August 2016, US-based Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein claimed that Siamak Namazi’s trip to Iran was planned by Michael Weiss, the Israel-First editor of The Daily Beast, which landed him into Iranian prison.

    The Zionist idiots don’t want their brainwashed readers to know that there is no such thing as the “US-Iranian citizen”, as both countries have no diplomatic relations since 1979 – therefore all these five dudes are subject to Iranian law while on Iranian soil. One wish Washington treat the American Jews holding Israeli dual citizenship the same way, who while living in United States work for Israel’s interests.

    The Jewish Lobby love to sell the National Iranian American Council as Iranian Lobby, which as Netanyahu’s blaming Mufti of Palestine for the Holocaust. NIAC is founded by Dr. Tarita Parsi, an Iranian-born non-Muslim who is against Islamic rule in Iran. NIAC is known as agent of the White House. Parsi supported Obama administration on US-Iran nuclear deal which Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton claimed would be good for Israel’s future.

    Compare this with the silence of the pro-Israeli media filth over the recent arrest and deportation of Turkish citizen Orhan Buyruk, owner of a Turkish touring agency, while on a visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Israeli occupied East Jerusalem. Buyruk had visited Israel several times but this time he was detained at the David-Gurion Airport by Israeli terrorist agency Shabak accusing him of an Iranian agent.

  19. mcohen says:

    you know the article is bullshit when you read this

    ” It’s evident that the Iranian intelligence services had easy access to this e-mail traffic between ‘Shirazi’ and Namaz”

    the shah’s old buddies will never be forgiven especially those that fled instead of facing the banjo.and especially those that went to the usa.there was a revolution in iran supported by the people and that was that said the cat in the black hat

    • Replies: @Kilkul
  20. Richard Silverstein immediately discredits everything he has written with the nonsensical title.

    Evin is not a “Gulag”. We have this thing called the internet these days. Search for pictures and stories of “gulags”.

    Evin is a prison and possibly at worst case (don’t know) approximates something like this:

  21. @RadicalCenter

    Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer is a dual US/Israeli national and has retained his Israeli passport. Let’s just move the Treasury to Tel Aviv and be done with all pretense.

  22. Kilkul says:

    Silverstein has a strong tendency to add some color to the fact to forthere promote his anti-Israel agenda.
    It is impossible to tell facts from his imagination.

  23. @Rehmat

    his Shylock nature

    That is completely unfair to Shylock. Pollard is a straight up traitor for hire. Shylock, on the other hand, represents the fundamentalist that insists on Law and will not submit to Love.

  24. Sherman says:

    Now, which one of your parents taught you to respect Jews?

  25. Rehmat says:

    Really moron! Why then crypto-Jew US Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iran for quickly releasing 10 American sailors detained after their boats entered Iranian territorial waters?

    “The battle between Ahmadinejad and Blair is not a political or diplomatic one, it is not about points. It is actually a clash between civilizations, a fight between humanism and cold pragmatism. As it emerges, in this battle, it is Ahmadinejad rather than Blair who reminds us where goodness rests. Seemingly, a man who has been repeatedly presented by our deluded Western media as a ‘radical’, ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘Islamofascist’ has proved beyond doubt that it is actually him who knows what forgiveness and grace are all about, It was Ahmadinejad who has pardoned the enemy, it was Ahmadinejad that evoked some prospects of a peaceful future,” Gilad Atzmon.

  26. Rehmat says:

    Really moron! Why then crypto-Jew US Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iran for quickly releasing 10 American sailors detained after their boats entered Iranian territorial waters?

    “The battle between Ahmadinejad and Blair is not a political or diplomatic one, it is not about points. It is actually a clash between civilizations, a fight between humanism and cold pragmatism. As it emerges, in this battle, it is Ahmadinejad rather than Blair who reminds us where goodness rests. Seemingly, a man who has been repeatedly presented by our deluded Western media as a ‘radical’, ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘Islamofascist’ has proved beyond doubt that it is actually him who knows what forgiveness and grace are all about, It was Ahmadinejad who has pardoned the enemy, it was Ahmadinejad that evoked some prospects of a peaceful future,” Gilad Atzmon.

  27. neutral says:

    Let me guess, the Ben_C stands for Benjamin Cohen.

  28. @Ben_C

    There is no question that USA (America) and IRI (Iran) are pivoting to each other. Both desperately need each other, at this point.

    Both regimes, however, are also struggling to neutralize their respective vocal and dominant elements. Superficially they make belligerent noises but that’s basically a form of negotiation and cover for the lower level negotiating teams. The sticking point, as always, is the zionist entity. Otherwise, alliance between Iran and America is both natural and necessary.

  29. Art says:

    Did this author even see what the Iranians did to the innocent American sailors who were on an innocent fishing expedition in the Strait of Hormuz:


    Surly you are being sarcastic – those troops were half way around the world from their country, aiming their guns at another country, all for the benefit of a third country of squatters.

    The people of Iran and America have no fight.

    It is time that the people fight their governments – not each other.



    • Replies: @Rehmat
  30. Don’t trust the writer of this piece. He is a Zionist pro J street, like Trita Parsi, a traitor and a CIA asset.
    Iran does not recognize dual citizenship. Someone like Bagher Namazi and his son Siamak Namazi, he has been graduated from NED (CIA) many years ago, are US informants with American citizenship.

    Why these CIA agents want to establish themselves in Iran and have CONSULTING FIRM to influence political and economic policy of the Iranian government in the interest of US/Israel and the West against Iranian people’s interests?

    The CIA wants Namazi family using their Iranian passports to enter the country as informants to establish circles of influence as ‘soft power’. Do you think the Iranian government and the Nation of Iran are that dumb, like silverstein, to let these informants continue their information gathering and corruption to accumulate billions of dollars to ship it to the West, and create instability in Iran? Namazi family’s intention is to built themselves as ‘ a middleman’ to do a lot of business with the West and their puppets at the expense of Iranian people INTEREST. Siamac Namazi is a US spy and one of the founders of NIAC, with Trita Parsi, seeking ‘regime change’ in Iran.

    Although Trita Parsi and Namazi family rhetoric in public against economic and political sanction on Iran, but there is STRONG evidence that in fact these TRAITORS give advice and their opinion to congress and USG how to use more sanction against Iran, exactly like another traitor and CIA asset, PAYAM AKHAVAN, a Canadian who signs the petitions as ‘Iranian’. Akhavan, like Namazi and Parsi is also a member of NIAC – a CIA front.
    All these traitors are in the service of the USG and Israel lobby, Hillary Clinton and J-street/

    شورای ملی ایرانیان آمریکا به راهبری تریتا پارسی و سیامک نمازی، بازوی سیاسی مافیای اقتصادی مذکور و در ارتباط نزدیک با کنگره آمریکاست. گرچه نایاک در مواضع خود از تحریم‌ها برضد ایران انتقاد می‌کند اما حلقه گروه آتیه به همراه نایاک یکی از کانال‌های اصلی در دادن گرای نقاط آسیب‌پذیر و حساس ایران به کنگره و قانون‌گذاران آمریکایی برای وضع تحریم‌هاست.بزرگ‌ترین-باند-مافیایی-کشور-را-بشناسید-کاسبان-تحریم-و-براندازان-در-لباس-لابی-ایران-تصاویر

    Trita Parsi and Siamak Namazi, first they met in 1996 and then they started their cooperation in 1999 in a conference in Cyprus to erect an organization, NIAC, to influence Iranian government by exerting pressure through economic sanction and mobilizing dummies for a regime change using ‘soft power’. In fact NIAC, is a CIA front.
    So, Payam Akhavan is co-founder of “Iranian documentation center” with CIA funding FAKING documents against Iran.

  31. Rehmat says:

    You’re right about the people – but Iranian government has a problem with the Zionist regime which occupies Palestine while White House has problem with Tehran for helping Hamas and Hizbullah to recover their ancestral lands stolen by Europe’s unwanted Jews.

    Even UNESCO last week agreed with 1.7 billion Muslims that the Old City of Jerusalem had nothing to do with Judaism or even new Jewish religion – Holocaust.

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