February 28, 2024

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Iranian Prisoners Released: Five detained Americans are expected to be released

Iranian Prisoners Released: Five detained Americans are expected to be released

Siamak Namazi/Nada Sharqi/Special Envoy to Iran Robert Malley

Siamak Namazi, Imad Sharqi, and Murad Tahbaz were among the Americans believed to have been involved in the deal.


Doha and Washington
CNN

Five Americans were Imprisoned in Iran An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said he was expected to be released on Monday A broader deal with the United States This includes freezing $6 billion in Iranian funds.

The US government has classified all five Americans as unjustly detained.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Al-Kanaani said in a press conference broadcast on the state-owned Press TV channel on Monday that the release process “hopefully will be completed” along with other elements of the deal.

A source familiar with the details of the matter told CNN on Monday afternoon, local time, that the detainees arrived at an airport in Tehran, and were scheduled to be transferred on a Qatari plane to Doha.

The release of the Americans would put an end to a years-long nightmare for those who have been detained. Three of those believed to be part of the deal – Imad Sharqi, Mourad Tahbaz, and Siamak Namazi – have been imprisoned for more than five years. Namazi has been detained since 2015. The identity of the other Americans is unknown.

Under the agreement between the United States and Iran, $6 billion of Iranian funds that were held in restricted accounts in South Korea will be transferred to restricted accounts in banks in Qatar. Qatar informed Iranian and American officials that the money was transferred from Switzerland to bank accounts in Qatar, according to a source familiar with the details of the matter.

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Sources told CNN that the money came from permitted oil sales and was placed in accounts set up under the Trump administration. Biden administration officials stressed that the money transferred to accounts in Qatar will only be able to be used by Iran for humanitarian purchases and every transaction will be monitored by the US Treasury Department.

The agreement, which has already drawn criticism from Republicans, includes the release of five Iranians detained by the United States.

The agreement, if completed successfully, will represent a major diplomatic breakthrough after years of complex indirect negotiations between Washington and Tehran.

The general lines of protest against the release began to take shape in Doha about seven months ago after years of indirect negotiations. The first concrete public steps under the deal took place about five weeks ago, when four of the Americans were transferred to house arrest. The fifth American was already under house arrest.

Namazi is a dual Iranian-American citizen. His father, Baqer Namazi, was released for medical treatment in October 2022, after more than six years in detention in Iran.

Sharqi, the businessman, and Tahbaz, the environmental activist, were first arrested in 2018. They are also Iranian-American citizens.

In March, in an unprecedented interview with CNN from inside Evin prison, Namazi made an emotional plea to President Joe Biden to put “the freedom of innocent Americans above politics” and intensify efforts to secure his release.

The Namazi family, as well as the Sharqi and Tahbaz families, had made urgent appeals to the Biden administration to intensify efforts to bring their loved ones home.

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