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Daughter of Imprisoned German-American National Says Dad “Can Be Next,” Calls on U.S. and E.U. to Do More

Jamshid Sharmahd. Wikimedia Commons.
Jamshid Sharmahd. Wikimedia Commons.

In an Instagram live with the editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, Lisa Daftari, Gazelle, the daughter of Jamshid Sharmahd, the Iranian German national who was last living in the U.S., provided an update on the father, who is imprisoned in the Islamic Republic of Iran on false charges and currently awaits execution.

Sharmahd, who was born in Iran and lived in Germany, moved to the US along with his family, setting up a company called Sharmahd Computing in Los Angeles.

While Sharmahd is not a US citizen or permanent resident, he does hold a US visa. Sharmahd spoke out against the human rights abuses committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, making him and his family a target.

According to reports, in 2009, the regime in Tehran sought to kill Sharmahd, hiring an Iranian American agent to kill him on US soil but failed because the hitman, Mohammad Reza Sadeghnia, was turned over to police by an individual he tried to contract in the assassination plot.

In March 2020, Sharmahd traveled from the US to India and Germany for business but was stranded for several months in Mumbai due to the coronavirus restrictions.

The Iranian businessman then went to Amsterdam to get a plane to go home; however, the US did not allow him to return because he did not have citizenship or a green card, prompting Sharmahd to return to India through a connecting flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city of Dubai.

In Dubai, Islamic Republic agents kidnapped Sharmahd, transporting him to Tehran and putting him on trial on false charges of terrorism.

While imprisoned, Sharmahd's family and lawyer have had difficulty communicating with him, relying on the US and German governments to help secure his release.

In February last year, Sharmahd was charged with "spreading corruption on earth" in an Islamic court, resulting in a death sentence.

Since then, his daughter, Gazelle, has been spreading awareness of her father's imprisonment, calling on the (EU) and the US to enact critical pressure against the regime to secure her father's release and many others falsely imprisoned in Iran.

"We don't know where he is for more than 1,000 days now in solitary confinement except for the people who want to harm him, torture him, and kill him," Sharmahd's daughter said. "We have close to no contact with him. I have not been able to have a phone call with him. My mom had two phone calls with him last year and one this year," she said.

Sharmahd said that when she heard that the Islamic regime gave her father the death sentence, she noted that usually what happens is the government in Tehran prepares for the execution and that her father could die at any time.

Asked about the execution of Habib Chaab, a dual Swedish-Iranian national, Sharmahd said she was distressed at the lack of response by the EU and the Swedish government's response to his death, describing it as "terrifying."

She noted that the response from Europe to the execution was "tweets, condemnations, and a phone call; that's the most that happened."

"We can be next, we can be taken, and the most that can happen to the Islamic regime is that they get more tweets and more condemnations. Nothing has changed, and that is terrifying," Sharmahd said.

"Mr. Sharmahd's death sentence after what has been widely criticized as a sham trial is reprehensible," a US State Department Spokesperson told the Foreign Desk. "The US and our partners are united in calling on Iranian authorities to stop their inexcusable practice of unjustly detaining citizens of other countries to gain political leverage and subjecting them to sham trials."

The State Department spokesperson said the agency has "little faith that anyone detained in Iran will be treated fairly by the justice system there. Iran's practices of arbitrary and unjust detentions, forced confessions, and politically motivated executions are completely unacceptable and must end." "Sadly, as the latest sham trials and executions show, the Iranian regime has only contempt for human rights and fair trials," the spokesperson told The Foreign Desk.

The German government responded to The Foreign Desk about Sharmahd's imprisonment, saying that the government is "following the case of Mr. Sharmahd very closely and is continuously working on Mr. Sharmahd's case on all diplomatic levels."

"The Federal Government sees the death sentence against Jamshid Sharmahd as a massive violation of the rights of a German citizen. We have repeatedly and urgently called on Iran to reverse the death penalty and allow Mr. Sharmahd a fair trial, as well as consular access, his right to a free choice of lawyer, and better prison conditions," a German government spokesperson said in an email to TFD.

The official stated that the German Federal Foreign Office has been in regular contact with Mr. Sharmahd's family and will continue to work vigorously for the imprisoned individual.

"This is exactly what she has been hearing for more than 1,000 days," Gazelle said. She explained that both the US and Germany have been ping-ponging back and forth over her father's case.

Sharmahd said that both Europe and the US must have concrete actions to deal with this situation, noting that she and many other families who have been addressing their loved one's kidnapping as a hostage crisis have been told not to use such language does not raise this issue on media outlets.

The daughter of the imprisoned Iranian activist talked about how despite the regime's terrorist activities against Europeans and Americans since 1979, countries like Germany continue to do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Sharmahd then said that she went to Berlin to talk with German officials about her father's case, despite some warning her about the Islamic Republic's possible attempt to kidnap her.

Asked about what could be done to secure her father's release, she said it was "too late."

At the end of the live stream, the daughter of the imprisoned Iranian journalist stated that the US and Europe need to work together to put pressure against the regime in Tehran so that they face severe consequences for taking citizens hostage.

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