Cracking down on Western ties, Iranian court sentences U.S. citizens to 10 years in jail

Iranian-American consultant Siamak Namazi (R) is pictured with his father Baquer Namazi in this undated family handout picture. Iranian authorities this week arrested the elderly father of an American jailed in Iran since October 2015, the man's family said on February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Handout via Reuters

An Iranian court has sentenced an Iranian-American businessman and his elderly father to 10 years in prison on charges of cooperating with the United States, Iranian media reported on Tuesday. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in October 2015 detained Siamak Namazi, a businessman in his mid-40s with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, while he was visiting family in Tehran. The IRGC in February arrested his 80-year-old father, Baquer Namazi, a former Iranian provincial governor and former UNICEF official who also has dual citizenship. Both men were sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying and cooperating with the U.S. government, according to the Fars news website, which did not specify when exactly the sentences had been handed down.

My father has been handed practically a death sentence.

Babak Namazi (Siamak's brother)

The sentences were the latest sign of an intensifying crackdown against Iranians with ties to the West, directed by hardliners who are powerful in Iran's judiciary and security forces in the aftermath of Iran's historic nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers last year.

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U.S., Tehran relationship

Washington and Tehran have not had formal diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah of Iran.

Iran nuclear deal framework

The Iran nuclear deal framework was a preliminary framework agreement reached in 2015 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and a group of world powers: the P5+1(the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China—plus Germany) and the European Union.Negotiations for a framework deal over the nuclear program of Iran took place between the foreign ministers of the countries at a series of meetings held from 26 March to 2 April 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution

The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, often called Revolutionary Guards or Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps(IRGC) by the English-speaking or U.S. media, is a branch of Iran's Armed Forces, founded after the Iranian revolution on 5 May 1979.