Washington Renews Calls on Iran to Release American Detained Citizens in Tehran

Illustrative: A prisoner being held in an Iranian prison. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Illustrative: A prisoner being held in an Iranian prison. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
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Washington Renews Calls on Iran to Release American Detained Citizens in Tehran

Illustrative: A prisoner being held in an Iranian prison. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Illustrative: A prisoner being held in an Iranian prison. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

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.



Trump Mocks Democrats in First Campaign Rally after Assassination Attempt

Donald Trump and Sen. J.D. Vance, Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 20, 2024. REUTERS/Tom Brenner Purchase Licensing Rights
Donald Trump and Sen. J.D. Vance, Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 20, 2024. REUTERS/Tom Brenner Purchase Licensing Rights
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Trump Mocks Democrats in First Campaign Rally after Assassination Attempt

Donald Trump and Sen. J.D. Vance, Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 20, 2024. REUTERS/Tom Brenner Purchase Licensing Rights
Donald Trump and Sen. J.D. Vance, Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 20, 2024. REUTERS/Tom Brenner Purchase Licensing Rights

Donald Trump held his first campaign rally on Saturday since he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt one week ago, poking fun at Democrats in turmoil at a heavily secured indoor arena in the election battleground state of Michigan, Reuters reported.

Fresh from his nominating convention where his takeover of the Republican Party was cemented, Trump appeared in Grand Rapids with his new vice presidential pick, Senator J.D. Vance from Ohio. They took the stage in their first campaign event together with the Republican Party unified behind them.

In contrast, it is no longer certain that President Joe Biden will be the Democratic Party's nominee facing Trump in the Nov. 5 election.

Biden has faced calls from some senior Democrats to end his re-election bid after his poor debate performance last month raised concerns over whether he could beat Trump or complete another four-year term.

Trump mocked Democrats, saying they wanted to kick Biden off the ticket after he won their presidential nominating contest.

"They have a couple of problems. No. 1, they have no idea who their candidate is," Trump said to laughter and jeers. "This guy goes and he gets the votes and now they want to take it away."

"As you're seeing, the Democrat Party is not the party of democracy. They're really the enemies of democracy."

He added: "And they keep saying, 'He's a threat to democracy.' I'm saying, 'What the hell did I do for democracy?'

Last week, I took a bullet for democracy."

Opinion polls show a tight race between the two men at a national level but Biden trailing Trump in the battleground states that will likely determine the winner.

Many Democrats fear he may not have a realistic path to victory and that the party needs a new candidate to take on Trump.

There was a heavy police presence at Trump's rally in Grand Rapids on Saturday, with police on every street corner for several blocks.

US Secret Service officers were positioned on the top balconies in the Van Andel Arena, giving them a bird's eye view of the crowd inside.

Bag searches for those entering the indoor arena earlier in the day were long and thorough, and the Secret Service sweep of the building took about an hour longer than usual.

The rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, last weekend was outdoors. At that event, the gunman was able to scale the roof of a building outside the Secret Service perimeter before opening fire on Trump, clipping his ear, killing a rally-goer and wounding several others.

The Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting Trump, declined to comment on security for the Grand Rapids event. An investigation is under way into the security failures at the Butler rally.

Trump gave a detailed account of his narrow brush with death in his convention speech on Thursday, telling the audience that he was only talking to them "by the grace of Almighty God."

Trump's former physician, Ronny Jackson, said on Saturday that the former president is recovering as expected from the gunshot wound to his right ear, but noted intermittent bleeding and said Trump may require a hearing exam.

The bullet fired by the would-be assassin at the July 13 rally in Pennsylvania came "less than a quarter of an inch from entering his head," said Jackson, a Republican congressman from Texas who had served as physician to Presidents Trump and Barack Obama.