The next is a transcript of an interview with Bahareh, Hannah and Ariana Shargi, Emad Shargi’s spouse and daughters, that aired Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome again to Face The Nation. The discharge of Brittney Griner from Russia is placing deal with different People held hostage overseas, together with Emad Shargi who has been detained in Iran since 2018. He was sentenced with out trial to 10 years in jail. Becoming a member of me now could be his spouse, Bahareh Shargi, and their two daughters, Ariana and Hannah. It is good to have you ever right here.
BAHAREH SHARGI:Thanks. Thanks for having us right here, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I do know it is by no means straightforward to speak about this, but it surely’s vital. It- there was lots that has occurred since we final spoke inside Iran and with these hostages launched. Bahareh, what was your response while you heard that Brittney Griner was launched?
BAHAREH SHARGI: I used to be ecstatic for Brittney and her household. Brittney ought to have by no means been detained, she’s an American citizen that was in Russia for no good motive in any respect. And I used to be very, very completely satisfied that she’s again dwelling. And it additionally offers me hope as a result of it signifies that this may be completed for others, corresponding to my husband and different People who’re held in Iran.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So it is eager for you?
BAHAREH SHARGI: Sure, very a lot so.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So. Ariana, you realize, when Brittney Griner was launched, her agent issued a letter and it stood out to me as a result of they stated they may attempt to assist households like yours. Actually, they named Emad within the record of those that are wrongfully detained, held for being American. Additionally listed, Morad Tahbaz, Siamak Namazi who has been detained seven years now. He was left behind when the US and Iran traded prisoners again in 2016. Do you discover that every one of you working collectively is- is making a distinction?
ARIANA SHARGI: I positively assume so. I imply, we’re all part of this horrible membership that nobody needs to be part of. But it surely’s been actually unbelievable to have this household of hostage households of People held overseas. And I do assume that us serving to one another makes an enormous distinction, to get the phrase out, but in addition for this superb help system that we have developed. So I do actually sincerely admire the truth that Brittney goes to advocate for different hostages held overseas. I imply, Paul Whelan has been held in Russia now, for 4 years, I imagine, and he is been left behind by two presidents. Our dad has been there- in Iran for 4 years. So something we will all do collectively, I positively assume is extra highly effective than only one household advocating for their very own cherished one.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Hannah, I do know, after we all final spoke again in June, you had been all publicly asking for a gathering with President Biden and with White Home officers?
HANNAH SHARGI: Sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Have you ever gotten one?
HANNAH SHARGI: No. We’ve nonetheless not heard from the President. We’ve not obtained a gathering with him. We have been asking as a household together with the opposite hostage households to satisfy with him for fairly a while, and I simply do not perceive why he is not assembly with us. I feel it might make a giant distinction to take a seat down with him. I wish to inform him about my dad, I wish to inform him how scared we’re, how urgent this matter is and the way time delicate it truly is. I imply, our father may have been killed within the Evin fireplace. We didn’t–
MARGARET BRENNAN: This was a hearth at a jail the place your father’s being held, again in October.
HANNAH SHARGI Sure. So there was a hearth and the riots on the jail the place he’s being held. We did not hear from him for 2 days, we did not know if he was alive or not. He inhaled tear fuel and smoke from the fires and it simply exhibits that this can be a actually urgent concern. And there is actually no time to attend. We do not know, actually, what’s gonna occur day after day. So I simply wish to sit down with the President and inform him our story and ask that he does all the pieces he can to deliver our dad dwelling. I imply, we stay in Washington, DC. We’ll come anytime he has- he has out there for us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Did you obtain any response from the White Home to your public calls?
BAHAREH SHARGI: We did. We did. We wrote because the households, Iranian households, Iranian-American households to the President, and we did get an acknowledgment of the letter. However that was it. And so they assume that the explanation why I’d wish to meet the President is that because the first couple of weeks in workplace, he made it some extent to say that the hostages are one in all his priorities. And since that day that I heard that, I’ve had this hope in my coronary heart that this President goes to deliver Emad dwelling. And but I’ve seen no indicators. It is simply been speak however nothing actually to indicate us that he is doing something or his administration, actually, to deliver Emad and the opposite People dwelling.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You recognize, Ariana, with the prisoners in Iran, this can be a actually robust state of affairs. The US nuclear talks of Iran seem like crumbling. You’ve Iran now serving to Russia in Ukraine. For the White Home, does it elevate a danger by assembly with you? Do you assume there is a good motive for them to not meet with you? Or do you’re feeling such as you’re being handled in a different way?
ARIANA SHARGI: Frankly, I do not assume there’s a good motive to not meet with us. I imply, we’re People at the start, earlier than even simply being a hostage household. But in addition, if Biden and his administration may have the braveness and the fortitude to get Brittney out of Russia, whereas Russia is in a warfare with Ukraine, then I do not see any motive why they should not be capable of get my dad out of Iran. It is clear that they’ve the abilities and the instruments to- to make these tough negotiations and to- to make the- the onerous however right choices. And so I’d simply encourage the President to actually emphasize together with his administration and with the American people who this may be completed and it ought to be completed.
MARGARET BRENNAN: He did meet with Brittany Griner’s spouse, and with the household of Paul Whelan.
ARIANA SHARGI: Appropriate.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Secretary Blinken within the State Division has to deal with a number of these points. Have you ever been in communication with them? Are they extra forthcoming?
HANNAH SHARGI: The State Division has been nice. We talked to them typically. And so they have – I do know they’ve completed lots to deliver our father dwelling. However on the finish of the day, I feel what we actually want because the White Home to be extra concerned, that’s actually the place the choice goes to return from. On the finish of the day. The President has the authority to make these varieties of huge choices. And that is actually who we have to communicate with now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You recognize, after I’ve requested Secretary Blinken prior to now, he says these points are so vital to him. He carries a card in his pocket with the names of the hostages.
However as he likes to say, the opposite facet will get a vote. Do you get the sense that there – there’s a deal to be made? And that there is a selection to not take it? I imply, do you’ve got any sense of the place the diplomacy is? Or any progress with Emad?
HANNAH SHARGI: I imply. we’ve got all the time requested and hoped that the problem of the JCPOA and our father’s launch are separate –
MARGARET BRENNAN: The nuclear deal.
HANNAH SHARGI: The nuclear deal. Sure. However as of now, we’ve got seen no plan to deliver our father dwelling. That is what I would actually prefer to see somebody say that is the plan, we will execute it. However plainly in the intervening time, there isn’t a clear concise plan to truly deliver my dad and the remainder of the People dwelling from Iran.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Hannah, you tweeted the opposite day a reasonably highly effective tweet as a result of the White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was requested by a reporter about your dad on the day Britney Griner was launched. And he or she stated she wasn’t acquainted with the case. You stated it was crushing, completely crushing to listen to that.
HANNAH SHARGI: Sure. It was positively onerous to listen to that she didn’t know my father’s title. She was not acquainted with the case, and deferred us to the State Division. As soon as once more. She was requested the identical query in June, and in addition stated that she was not acquainted with his title or the case. And I simply do not perceive how I ought to have religion that my dad’s going to be dwelling, if the White Home would not even know his title.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You recognize, diplomats I talked to say they’re engaged on this. It’s only a very, very tough state of affairs. However you simply need your husband dwelling. How is Emad? How is he doing? What are you aware about his state?
BAHAREH SHARGI: Emad just isn’t properly. We – we aren’t properly. Emad is hundreds of miles away from us. He is an harmless American being held hostage for no good motive in any respect. Once more, like Hannah stated, and we do not hear of any plan – explicit plan of how he shall be introduced dwelling. Once more, with the – all the pieces occurring with the hearth with the protests, Emad is in danger each single day, each single second. All of them are, the hostages in Iran. And we simply -we simply do not know why the administration would not use all of the instruments they’ve and the President to only encourage the administration to do what’s the proper factor. We’re behind him. I hope that we ask all of the American folks to be behind the President to assist help, deliver Emad and the opposite People dwelling.
MARGARET BRENNAN: As a result of for you, this isn’t in any respect political.
HANNAH SHARGI: No.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You simply need your dad again.
HANNAH SHARGI: Yeah. It is a – it is a humanitarian concern on the finish of the day. It is not a political concern. These are People and so they simply should be dwelling with their household. So it is not political. Actually. It is simply, it is about folks on the finish of the day.
ARIANA SHARGI: And we’re developing on the fourth or fifth vacation season with out him.
HANNAH SHARGI: Fifth, fifth.
ARIANA SHARGI: Sure, sure.
BAHAREH SHARGI: And it’s – on the way in which right here, really, I used to be telling the women, Oh, would not it’s enjoyable to go get a Christmas tree this weekend or right this moment or one thing. And it simply would not be enjoyable. And we’ve got not gotten it, and we’re ready for Emad to return. And it occurs it the truth is, December 24 can be our anniversary and yet one more anniversary to be spent, the place Emad is in jail and I’m right here. So we simply need Emad again dwelling.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Effectively, we want you the very best of luck with that. And we are going to maintain following your story. Thanks a lot for speaking about your dad and your husband.
BAHAREH SHARGI: Thanks. Thanks a lot.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks. We’ll be proper again.