The United States and Iran have reached a deal to free five imprisoned Americans in exchange for $6 billion in assets and a number of Iranian prisoners, the New York Times reported on Thursday.
The Biden administration will transfer $6 billion in previously frozen Iranian assets and release multiple jailed Iranian nationals in exchange for five Americans wrongfully detained in Iran, according to the NYT. The deal will be completed through multiple phases, and the American prisoners will only be released after the $6 billion in assets is made available to Iran.
“We have received confirmation that Iran has released from prison five Americans who were unjustly detained and has placed them on house arrest,” said the White House in a statement released Thursday. “While this is an encouraging step, these U.S. citizens – Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi, and two Americans who at this time wish to remain private – should have never been detained in the first place. We will continue to monitor their condition as closely as possible. Of course, we will not rest until they are all back home in the United States.”
“Until that time, negotiations for their eventual release remain ongoing and are delicate. We will, therefore, have little in the way of details to provide about the state of their house arrest or about our efforts to secure their freedom,” the statement continued.
As part of the first phase of the deal, four of the imprisoned Americans – one of which have been detained since 2015 – have been released from Iran’s Evin prison into house arrest, according to the NYT. The other American detainee was released into house arrest earlier in the week. (RELATED: US Deploys Marines To The Middle East To Combat Increased Iranian Aggression)
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian states that his country is prepared to swap prisoners with the United States pic.twitter.com/po6le21SLM
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) August 9, 2023
“While I hope this will be the first step to their ultimate release, this is at best the beginning of the end and nothing more,” Jared Genser, a lawyer for one of the American prisoners, said, according to the NYT. “But there are simply no guarantees about what happens from here.”
Genser said the five Americans are currently being held in a hotel under the guard of Iranian officials, according to the NYT.
The $6 billion in assets, originally Iranian oil revenue, was frozen by the U.S. as part of sanctions against Iran, the NYT reported. It is currently being held in South Korea and will be transferred to the central bank of Qatar, where the funds will be controlled by the Qatari government and doled out to Iran only for humanitarian purposes, including food and medicine.
A number of Iranian nationals imprisoned for violating sanctions on Iran will also be released as part of the deal, according to the NYT.
“We are in touch with the families of U.S. citizens involved, and we continue to monitor these individuals’ health and welfare closely,” the State Department said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “While we welcome the news of these individuals’ release from prison to house arrest, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. We continue to work diligently to bring these individuals home to their loved ones.”
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