We can all collectively say, I told you so.
In what has been interpreted as a signal of the crackdown following the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, the Iranian government has arrested an Iranian-American businessman who was visiting family in Tehran.
Siamak Namazi, the man arrested, was living in Dubai as the head of strategic planning at an energy company. According to reports, he is in his late 40s and was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards Corps two weeks ago.
This makes the fourth American known to be imprisoned in Iran, but more importantly, his arrest signaled a new discord in the relationship between Tehran and the West following the nuclear pact.
A fifth American went missing back in 2007 and it is believed that Iran has knowledge of his whereabouts.
Namazi’s arrest also pointed to the ongoing friction between Iran’s hard-liners and President Hassan Rouhani, who has been pushing reforms.
The nuclear deal lifts the international sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors in exchange for limits on its nuclear program, but the arrest is likely to send a warning to anyone in the business community looking to exploit the new opportunities that have come about because of it.
Namazi, whose family came to America when he was a boy in 1983, according to The Washington Post, was a proponent of a greater engagement between the United States and Iran. In 2013 he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that urged countries to relax their restrictions so that life-saving medical supplies could be sent into Iran.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Namazi’s family home in Tehran was ransacked by Iranian intelligence officials who took his computer and have been following the contacts in his email, exposing them to cyberattacks.
The worst part of it all is that the Obama administration has said nothing of Namazi’s arrest.