Washington described Iran’s imprisonment of US nationals for use as political leverage as outrageous and inhumane, calling on the Iranian authorities to release US nationals wrongfully detained in Tehran.
US Department of State Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the US has no higher priority than securing the release of its nationals wrongfully detained overseas, "and we are working relentlessly to secure the release of US nationals wrongfully detained in Iran."
"We once again call on Iran to cease its abhorrent practice of unjustly imprisoning foreign nationals for use as political leverage, and to immediately release US citizens Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, and Siamak Namazi," stressed Patel in his briefing marking five years since Shargi was first arrested in Iran.
This came as Tahbaz's daughter said on Saturday she had lost confidence in US President Joe Biden's efforts to free her father.
Tahbaz has served five years of a 10-year sentence after being convicted of spying and was briefly released to house arrest with an electronic tag in March 2022 when two other dual nationals, including British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, were allowed to leave Iran.
In July his lawyer was quoted as saying he had been granted bail, but his daughter said he was now back in jail.
"I think being told since Biden has taken office that our loved ones are a priority, and then seeing no action - it is hard to hold hope," Tara Tahbaz told Reuters in Madrid while she was visiting from the United States to see relatives.