After Iran coolly announced half a dozen 10-year sentences for men accused of spying on behalf of the U.S. government—two of those American citizens, one a permanent U.S. resident—the State Department debuted, or rehashed, one of its slightly sternly worded statements in response.
Mind you, there was nothing Tuesday from President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry as the lives of these Americans held for the past eight to 13 months fell apart. Instead, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. was “deeply concerned” about reports of the sentences.
Babak Namazi, the brother of hostage Siamak Namazi and son of hostage Baquer Namazi, warned in a statement Tuesday that his 80-year-old father has essentially been sentenced to death. Baquer was already on medication for a heart condition and other ailments when he was seized in February in Tehran, where he was trying to get his son Siamak released. “At his age and in his condition it is highly doubtful that my father will survive any time in prison let alone a 10-year unjust prison sentence,” Babak wrote.
The State Department response? “We remain especially concerned by reports of his declining health and well-being.”