The Iranian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the release of Five US Nationals prisoners in a prisoner swab deal made between the US and Iran. Five other Iranian prisoners will be released from the US.
Iran and The United States swapped five prisoners each on 18th September, 2023 in one of the two rivals first deals in years as the agreement also involves the transfer of $6billion of frozen Iranian assets from South Korea.
The five Americans freed by Iran, including one held for eight years, flew out of Tehran in a Qatari jet, hours after the unblocked funds were deposited in accounts also managed by Qatar.
First made public on August 10, the swap deal removes a major thorn between Washington and Tehran although the arch foes remain deeply at odds over a wide range of other issues.
The two countries have a history of prisoner swaps since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 when there was a US embassy takeover and hostage crisis. “Everybody is basically reconciling themselves with the fact that the best they can do for now is to take small steps toward preventing a crisis,” said Alex Vatanka, director of the Iran programme at the Middle East Institute think-tank in Washington, DC to Al Jazeera.
A senior official in US President Joe Biden’s administration told reporters on Monday that five freed Americans and two of their US family members were en route to the Qatari capital, Doha.
The White House has named three of the prisoners, who were released to house arrest in advance of the swap, as Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz.
“The families of the two others have withheld their identities, but they are said to be a scientist and a businessman. Western media outlets also have reported that one is a woman,” said Al Jazeera.
Biden says freeing Americans a top priority according to an AJ correspondent.
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