McCain blasts Iran video of Iranian-American prisoner

McCain blasts Iran video of Iranian-American prisoner
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump is right: Walls work on the southern border How news media omissions distort Russia probe narrative ... and shield Democrats Arizona city council halts work on mural honoring John McCain over ‘protocol’ concerns, neighbor complaints MORE (R-Ariz.) blasted hard-liners in Iran for releasing a video on Monday featuring a detained Iranian-American businessman who was arrested last October.

The minute-long video showed Siamak Namazi, his U.S. passport, an ID card and a clip of him in a conference room with his arms raised, all set to music, according to The Associated Press. 


Namazi, and his father, Baquer Namazi, a former United Nations official, are both being currently held in Iran. 

The video also featured 10 American sailors whom Iran detained in January after their patrol boats drifted into Iranian waters, as well as an Iranian drone flying over a U.S. aircraft carrier.  

The video also shows a still image of Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with a statement from Royce calling Namazi's arrest the "latest show of contempt for America." 

McCain said the video was just part of a pattern of intimidation against the U.S. by Iran, enabled by the Obama administration's pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program. 

“The video released by Iranian hard-liners this week depicting a detained Iranian-American along with footage of the 10 American sailors who were illegally captured in January is just the latest attempt to intimidate the United States following the signing of the dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal," he said. 

“Such increasingly belligerent behavior towards the United States is hardly surprising, given the Obama Administration’s countless concessions to Iran made in pursuit of its dangerous deal," McCain added. 

Iran has stepped up its harassment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, conducting 32 unsafe and unprofessional interactions with U.S. forces so far this year, compared to 24 all of last year. 

McCain also blasted the administration for a $1.7 billion payment to settle a dispute with Iran over a failed weapons deal from the 1970s. The first installment of the payment came just before Iran released four Americans who were detained. 

Republican critics have called that a "ransom" payment, saying it contradicted U.S. hostage policy.

McCain said the money could also go to funding Iran's allies in the Middle East, including the Syrian government and Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are at odds with the U.S.

Houthi rebels fired missiles at U.S. ships three times within the last week. A U.S. ship employed defensive measures, thwarting the attacks. 

"Since the deal went into effect, we learned that the administration paid a ransom totaling $1.7 billion to the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism for the release of American prisoners, which it may use to support Bashar Assad’s slaughter of people in Syria and fund Houthi rebels in Yemen that continue to fire missiles at U.S. ships," McCain said. 

"Until the administration finally wakes up to Iran’s malign influence, it will continue to place American lives at greater risk," he said. 

Others with Western ties recently detained in Iran, according to the AP, include: 

— Robin Shahini , an Iranian-American detained while visiting family who previously had made online comments criticizing Iran's human rights record;

— Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe , a British-Iranian woman sentenced to five years in prison on allegations of planning the "soft toppling" of Iran's government while traveling with her young daughter; and

— Nizar Zakka , a U.S. permanent resident from Lebanon recently sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $4.2 million fine.

Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission, is still missing.