Oman said to thank Iran for handing over U.S. citizen Namazi

DUBAI, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Oman on Tuesday thanked Iran for handing over U.S. citizen Baquer Namazi, the Iranian foreign ministry said on its website, but it was unclear whether the Iranian American had left the Islamic Republic or when he might do so.

Namazi, 85, a former U.N. official, holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenship and is one of four Iranian Americans, including his son Siamak, who are detained in Iran or barred from leaving the country.

"In a phone call, Oman's foreign minister expressed his gratitude and appreciation for Tehran's trust in the Omani authorities and the humanitarian action of Iran in handing over Baquer Namazi to Muscat," the Iranian foreign ministry said.

Baquer Namazi was convicted in Iran of "collaboration with a hostile government" in 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Iranian authorities released him on medical grounds in 2018 and closed his case in 2020, commuting his sentence to time served but effectively barring him from leaving the country.

On Saturday, the United Nations said Namazi had been allowed to leave Iran for medical treatment.

The same day, a lawyer for the family said his son, Siamak, 51, was released from Tehran's Evin prison on a one-week furlough after nearly seven years in detention. Siamak was also convicted of "collaboration with a hostile government" in 2016.

The U.S. government has described the charges against both as baseless.

Iranian Americans, whose U.S. citizenship is not recognized by Tehran, are often pawns between the two nations, now at odds over whether to revive a fraying 2015 pact under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Asked about the Iranian ministry's comment, the U.S. State Department pointed to a response by spokesman Vedant Patel, who told reporters "out of respect for the family’s privacy, I don’t have any other details to offer, and we request that the media also respect their privacy."

Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammad; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Alistair Bell

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