Long-jailed Iran former deputy premier dies at 86

In this Feb. 5, 1979 file photo, Abbas Amir-Entezam is seen with newly appointed Iran Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, Dariush Forouha and Ayatollah Khamenei arriving at an airport in Iran after the fall of the Pahlavi regime. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated 13 July 2018
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Long-jailed Iran former deputy premier dies at 86

  • Abbas Amir-Entezam, regarded as a liberal, had spent decades in jail after being found guilty of espionage and treason shortly after the 1979 revolution.
  • Amir-Entezam was widely considered by human rights groups to be Iran’s longest-serving political prisoner. He was awarded the Austrian Bruno Kreisky prize for human rights in 1997.

TEHRAN: A former Iranian deputy prime minister who spent years in jail on charges of spying for the US died on Thursday at the age of 86, state media reported.

Abbas Amir-Entezam, regarded as a liberal, had spent decades in jail after being found guilty of espionage and treason shortly after the 1979 revolution.

Amir-Entezam, who was in poor health following his years in prison, died following a “cardiac arrest,” according to state news agency IRNA.

The Fars news agency said he had been at home at the time and could not be resuscitated.

It was not clear how long he had been out of prison and under what conditions he had been allowed to return home.

Amir-Entezam was widely considered by human rights groups to be Iran’s longest-serving political prisoner.

He was a deputy prime minister and government spokesman in the provisional government headed by Mehdi Bazargan after the revolution that overthrew Iran’s Shah.

The government sent him to Sweden as an ambassador, but he was later recalled, arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 1981 for spying for the US —  a charge he always denied.

After serving a 17-year sentence, he was arrested again in 1998 after making critical statements about the former head of the Evin prison near Tehran. After a brief period of liberty he was detained again in the early 2000s and sent back to prison after calling for a referendum on the country’s political system.

In 2017, he gave an interview to the Tarikh Online (“History Online“) site.

He was unable to hold back his tears as he recalled being prevented from seeing his family for the first “six or seven years” of his detention.

He said his jailers had forbidden him from wearing shoes, even confiscating those he had made himself.

A number of human rights organizations expressed their support for Amir-Entezam, and in 1997 he was awarded the Austrian Bruno Kreisky prize for human rights.


Iraq’s president visits Iran weeks after US renews sanctions

Updated 57 min 44 sec ago
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Iraq’s president visits Iran weeks after US renews sanctions

TEHRAN, Iran: Iraq’s president is visiting Iran less than two weeks after the United States restored oil sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
State TV says Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran, which has had major influence over Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, is hoping to maintain exports to its neighbor despite the renewed sanctions. Iraq is Iran’s second-largest market after China, buying everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas.
Trade between the two countries was some $7 billion in 2017, and they have vowed to boost it to $8.5 billion this year.