Baquer Namazi, an elderly American wrongfully detained in Iran, is on his way out of the country for surgery in the United Arab Emirates, his family said in a statement on Wednesday.
Namazi, 85, has been detained in Iran for more than six years and is traveling to the Cleveland Clinic in the Abu Dhabi to clear out a severe blockage to his left internal carotid artery (ICA), which puts him at very high risk for a stroke, the statement said. He will transit through Oman on his way to Abu Dhabi.
“It is impossible to articulate and describe sufficiently how I am feeling. I am just so grateful that after so long, I will shortly be able to embrace my father again,” Babak Namazi, Baquer Namazi’s son, said in a statement. “In recent years, I thought this day would never happen. It is impossible to thank all those who helped make this happen.”
IRNA posted a video allegedly showing Namazi boarding a flight with a man dressed in traditional Omani attire. In the video, Namazi was struggling to climb the stairs.
Namazi, who was detained for six years by Iran, was facing health problems and developed further medical issues over the course of his detainment, law firm Perseus Strategies, which represents the family, said in a statement last month.
“Today is a good day for the Namazi family, but the work is far from over. We now need the United States and Iran to act expeditiously to reach an agreement that will finally bring all of the American hostages home,” Jared Genser, the managing director of Perseus Strategies and the family’s lawyer, said in a statement.
Namazi was lured to Iran by the government under the false premise that he would be able to see his son, Siamak, who had been detained there at the time. Namazi was instead immediately taken into custody in February 2016.
Siamak Namazi was blocked from leaving Iran after visiting in July 2015. He underwent months of interrogations before being arrested in October 2015.
This story has been updated with additional information.